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England Women: Fran Kirby targets 50th Lioness cap in World Cup qualifier

Fran Kirby admits that she would not change her ‘roller coaster’ ride after a rare disease left her barely able to walk and nearly led her into early retirement, with the Chelsea star staring at England’s ‘special’ 50 cap against Latvia.

  • Chelsea forward Fran Kirby says she wouldn’t change her ‘roller coaster’ ride
  • He will win his 50th cap for England if he plays in qualifying for the World Cup on Tuesday
  • But there was a time when he thought his international career might be over.


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Fran Kirby says she wouldn’t change her ‘roller coaster’ ride as she approaches a ‘special’ 50th cap from England.

The Chelsea forward will reach the milestone if she plays in the World Cup tie with Latvia on Tuesday night, but there was a moment when she thought her international career might be over.

In November 2019, Kirby was diagnosed with pericarditis, a rare condition caused by fluid and inflammation of the sac that protects the heart.

Fran Kirby of the Lionesses approaches a 'special' cap number 50 in England after a 'roller coaster' ride

Fran Kirby of the Lionesses approaches a ‘special’ cap number 50 in England after a ‘roller coaster’ ride

The disease left her barely able to walk and kept her out of the game for eight months and the 28-year-old was about to retire early.

But after returning to action last season to help Chelsea win another WSL title and reach the Champions League final, Kirby is in the best shape of his career.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, but it’s a ride I’m very proud of,” Kirby said. “ Looking back, I probably wouldn’t change much, I know I’ve been through a lot, but it has made me who I am.

Kirby is back in England after pericarditis kept her out of the game for eight months.

Kirby is back in England after pericarditis kept her out of the game for eight months.

Kirby is back in England after pericarditis kept her out of the game for eight months.

“ I’ve been a part of this team for a long time, so getting that 50th spot will be really special for me. It’s nice to go back to playing regularly.

“When I look back at my first England cap, I didn’t know what experiences I was going to have. It is a really proud trip for me. I think I have matured as a player and as a person. ‘

Latvia was beaten 4-1 by North Macedonia, whom England thrashed 8-0 last month, and boss Sarina Wiegman is hoping for an outright victory.

“They won’t be as good as Northern Ireland, we will definitely have the ball all the time,” Wiegman said.

“The field will not be as good as Wembley, the circumstances will not be as good, but we want to bring the same energy and quality, score a lot of goals and not concede any.”

Forward Kirby returned to action last season to help Chelsea seal another WSL title.

Forward Kirby returned to action last season to help Chelsea seal another WSL title.

Forward Kirby returned to action last season to help Chelsea seal another WSL title.

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