Wiegman words were 'special' during illness absence, says Kirby

By Sports Desk June 22, 2022

Fran Kirby has praised England manager Sarina Wiegman for her honest and "special" communication while the Chelsea star's availability for Euro 2022 was in doubt.

Kirby missed three months of action towards the end of the season due to an illness that was causing extreme fatigue.

But having returned to action and been named in England's squad for the Euros on home soil, the 28-year-old opened up on her conversations with Wiegman while she had stepped away from the game.

"Obviously, it's going to be in the back of my mind. But for me, right now, I want to make sure that I'm feeling confident going into the Euros," said Kirby.

"Leading into it I had loads of conversations with Sarina on the phone in terms of how I was feeling and how I was doing.

"She always made me feel confident in terms of if you get yourself right, then I want you to be part of the squad. 

"And for me, as a player to hear that when you're not playing, it's really nice and it's really special to hear. 

"When I speak about her honesty, I said to her, I need you to be honest, if you don't think I'm ready, then you tell me that. 

"I wouldn't want to be part of the squad if you didn't feel that I was ready to participate or to give something to the team. 

"When she said that I was in the squad, it just reaffirmed the confidence that she has in me to make a difference.

"She's been great. She's really brought this togetherness in the squad, she makes everyone feel like they're respected and that their voices are heard. 

"She's just brought this honest nature, in terms of dealing with difficult conversations when they have to be had. 

"And she also makes people feel good, she makes you feel confident in your ability, she makes you feel like you're valued in the team and that's important when you're going into a tournament." 

Kirby had previously been ruled out for much of the 2019-20 season with pericarditis, a condition affecting the fluid sac around the heart.

England beat Belgium 3-0 in their first warm-up game for the Euros last week, with Kirby coming off the bench in the second half. 

"I'm feeling really good, feeling healthy and I've been able to participate in all the training sessions and be a part of them," added Kirby.

"For me, now, I'm not really thinking about much what has happened previously, because I just want to make sure that I'm focusing on the here and now and focusing on my performance in training. 

"I have to show that I'm ready to go and that I'm ready to play and I've been able to do that in the last few weeks."

Friendlies against the Netherlands and Switzerland are up next before England begin their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria on July 6.

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