Image: Wiikimedia Commons/RobinRovers20
Image: Wiikimedia Commons/RobinRovers20

Fran Kirby steps away from football

Chelsea’s ‘Super Fran’ has decided to take time away from football in order to get to the bottom of her ongoing health issues.

The 20/21 player of the season hasn’t lined up for club nor country since February this year, and following her recent announcement, it looks unlikely that she will be doing it again any time soon.

The 28-year-old previously recovered from pericarditis, an inflammation of the fibrous sac surrounding the heart, back in the 19/20 season, in which Chelsea won the league by default following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kirby miraculously returned from her illness at the beginning of the next season, though, helping her side to beat Manchester City in the Community Shield in her first start in nine months.

The England forward has been through and recovered from innumerable setbacks throughout her life, both in and out of the football sphere, and is quite the inspirational figure in her refusal to stay down.

This latest setback is a mysterious one, with manager Emma Hayes seemingly also unclear on the situation.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Hayes said: “I’m not withholding anything, because I don’t have anything to tell you, because we haven’t got to the bottom of it and until we get to the bottom of it and until we understand some of the underlying reasons for that fatigue, I’d just be speculating.”

She is a big miss not only for Chelsea, but any football fan, as she never fails to entertain and pull off the miraculous time and time again

She continued: “We need to give the time to find the right support so that we can come up with a diagnosis and then with diagnosis, you can come up with strategies.

“So right now, I don’t have any answers. What I know is that she’s not available for club or country and she won’t be for the foreseeable future.”

The most common assumption is that Kirby’s downturn in health is related to her previous condition, though of course, nothing is confirmed.

Obviously, Kirby has been a big loss for Chelsea this season, as they have fought on multiple fronts and are currently edging Arsenal in the race for the Women’s Super League – a race they may have a more comfortable lead in had Kirby been available.

However, as the Reading-born international herself stated in an Instagram post, “it was time to put [her] health first”.

Fran Kirby is one of the best players in world football, and is a big miss not only for Chelsea, but any football fan, as she never fails to entertain and pull off the miraculous time and time again.

With any fortune, Kirby will be back and firing for Chelsea and the Lionesses once again in no time. But at least for now, Kirby should take all the time she needs to get back in fighting shape.

Although it is extremely unlikely that she will feature for England at the Euros, there is hope that she will be able to recuperate and return for the start of the 22/23 season, likely with the ambition of defending the WSL title for the Blues once again.

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