England forward Beth Mead says she is still hopeful of World Cup fitness and is “ahead” of her recovery from an ACL injury.
Mead tore her ACL while playing for Arsenal in November and Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman said last month it would be a “miracle” if she makes the squad for Australia and New Zealand.
But Mead has returned to light training with Arsenal ahead of the July tournament and said she is determined to give herself every chance to make the 23-man squad when it is announced next month.
“The injury is fine,” Mead said. Sky Sports News while collecting his MBE for his role in England’s victory at Euro 2022 last summer. “I’ve been on the field for a good five months and I’m kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule. That’s all I can do that is in my control right now.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident [of going to the World Cup] because it’s out of my control, but I’m working hard to get as close as possible. But at the end of the day, it will probably be Sarina’s decision.”
England captain Leah Williamson will miss the World Cup with an ACL injury, while Fran Kirby is also out of the tournament with a knee problem that requires surgery.
England coach Wiegman said before the Finalissima in April that she did not expect Mead to be ready for the World Cup unless “a miracle happened”.
“I had a conversation with her, she’s doing well, she’s in rehab, she’s doing well, but the World Cup is really too early,” Wiegman said.
“So what we said is that she’s not in our plans right now, just take the time to get well.
“If a miracle happens and she’s going that fast, we’ll reconsider, but right now I don’t expect that.”
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 plays Wolfsburg in the Champions League final on June 3, said: “Mine is very small. I have two weeks post-op, and then I have a couple more weeks tops.
“I am walking very well. I still have bandages from the stitches, but I’m actually very good physically and mentally, and I feel very good and positive.
“I think I’m in a better place now after the surgery than before. I’ve had six knee surgeries so I know what I’m doing, it’s pretty easy for me.”
Includes PA reports