​England striker Toni Duggan has opened up for the first time about the injury that hampered her performances at the 2019 World Cup. 

Duggan picked up a thigh injury upon her arrival in France, but England boss Phil Neville opted against sending her home. The Atletico Madrid forward started three of England's World Cup fixtures, but was visibly not at her best. 

Toni Duggan

Duggan failed to score in the tournament, and did not feature in the semi-final defeat to the USA. 

The extent to the former ​Manchester City striker's injury was not announced during the World Cup, but Duggan has now revealed just how detrimental it was to her campaign, and how painful that was for her.

Speaking to the ​Mail Online, Duggan said: "I was devastated. I got a timetable [for recovery] that was longer than the actual tournament and I got back before it which I wanted to do because I was prepared to give everything for the team. I would never want to leave a World Cup.

"Ask any player, to miss out on a major tournament - and I know I was there and some players missed out altogether - but I feel like I missed out, too, because I couldn't give my best for the team.

Duggan played a key role for ​Barcelona during the 2018/19 season, as they reached the Champions League final for the first time in the club's history. She was also a regular starter for Phil Neville during the World Cup qualifiers, and featured in every SheBelieves Cup fixture for England, as the Lionesses won the invitational tournament.

However, Duggan has admitted that her injury prevented her from reaching those highs during the World Cup.

Toni Duggan

The Liverpudlian added: "After just a few weeks of training it was difficult to get back to the level that everyone is at in a World Cup. I was nowhere near it, especially after a long season on top of that.

"I played a couple of games but I was never at my best, I was just getting through them and trying to help the team.

"It was difficult but I tried to help the team in any way that I could on the pitch or off the pitch. I gave it everything and I was literally exhausted after it." 

Toni Duggan

After missing England's recent post-World Cup friendlies through injury, Duggan was recalled for the ​Wembley friendly against Germany, and midweek clash in the Czech Republic.

However, she has since had to withdraw from the squad due to a back injury. 

With just 18 places in the Team GB squad for the 2020 Olympics, Duggan will need to quickly get back to full fitness and recapture the form that has seen her shine on the international stage.