Chelsea star Fran Kirby is a doubt for Euro 2022 with England this summer after Blues manager Emma Hayes confirmed she will be unavailable for the ‘foreseeable future’ due to an ongoing battle with an undiagnosed fatigue problem.
Kirby hasn’t played for Chelsea since the 7-0 FA Cup win over Leicester in late February, with Hayes previously explaining that the 28-year-old was being given time off to rest.
But offering a fresh update on Kirby’s status, Hayes elaborated on the issue and clarified that she won’t be available for selection for club or country until it is possible to understand what the underlying problem actually is.
“She’s been taking some time in the background, been suffering with a lot of fatigue,” Hayes said on Friday as Chelsea prepare to face Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals.
“I don’t have a definitive reason why that is, but we’re trying to get to the bottom of it and taking the time we can to try and find the right solutions for Fran.
“This is something that’s been ongoing. Unfortunately, until we get to the bottom of it, Fran won’t be available for selection. We’re going through a process of elimination to try and determine why she’s struggling. From my perspective, this isn’t the first time, it’s been ongoing for a lot of years.”
Hayes explained that it is only once there is a diagnosis, can ‘strategies’ be put in place.
“Right now, I don’t have any answers,” she added. “What I know is that she’s not available for club or country – and she won’t be for the foreseeable future.”
It is a huge personal blow for Kirby, who overcame a bout of pericarditis – an inflammation around the heart – that had previously threatened her career. Kirby had also suffered with a number of knee and ankle problems in 2016 and 2017. Yet, when fit, she is a world class operator.
“I’m sad that I have to write to you all another message like this,” Kirby herself posted on Twitter.
“With this being an on-going issue throughout my career, it was time to put my health first. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to message. I’m doing everything to try and come back once again.”
Euro 2022 will kick off in early July, while the WSL season wraps in just three weeks.