England forward Beth Mead says she will “do everything she can” to make it to the summer World Cup, admitting that “it may be a bit too soon.”
Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot and player of the tournament award when the Lionesses won the Euro on home soil last year, has been sidelined since suffering an ACL tear while playing for Arsenal in November.
In March, England boss Sarina Wiegman said she was planning the World Cup without Mead, adding: “If a miracle happens and she goes that fast (in her recovery) then we will reconsider, but at the moment we won’t. “. Wait for that.”
Speaking on Wednesday as he received an MBE at Windsor Castle for his services to football, Mead told the PA news agency: “I’m back on the pitch, kicking a ball around. So it’s starting to be a bit more normal again, but it’s been a long and difficult period.
“I will do my best to get as close to that as possible. But (the World Cup) may be too early for me this time.”
Mead also told Sky Sports that she was “ahead of time” in her recovery, before adding that her participation in the World Cup is “out of my control”.
The showpiece in Australia and New Zealand will kick off on July 20, with Wiegman set to name her squad for the tournament later this month.
Mead is one of four Arsenal players to have suffered ACL injuries this season, England captain Leah Williamson being another, along with Vivianne Miedema and Laura Wienroither.
In the bigger picture in terms of ACL injuries, Mead told PA: “I think more can be done. Obviously, we’ll go much deeper into that as individuals and as a club and the women’s game in general.
“I think it’s becoming six times more likely than male players and we have that number and that’s something that can help.
“It’s a long injury and you don’t want to see any player going out with it, but some of the best players you want to see in World Cups and things like that (have suffered the injury).
“We’ll try to help drive that further and do more research on it.”
Also receiving an MBE on Wednesday was Mead’s England teammate Lucy Bronze, who was out of action after undergoing knee surgery last month.
The Barcelona defender, whose club faces Wolfsburg in the Champions League final on June 3, said: “I think (the World Cup) is very far in the future and I should get back to training within some weeks. Surgery was two weeks ago but very small compared to some of the other girls.
“I hope to be fit again for the Champions League final.”