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Beth Mead’s ACL recovery ‘ahead of schedule’

Beth Mead has been sidelined by an ACL injury since November (PA)

England forward Beth Mead says she is still hopeful of being fit for the World Cup and is “ahead of schedule” in her recovery from an ACL injury.

Mead ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament playing for Arsenal in November and Lionesses manager Sarina Weigman said last month that it would be a “miracle” if she makes her squad for Australia and New Zealand.

But Mead has returned to light training with Arsenal ahead of the July tournament and said she is determined to give herself every chance of making the 23-player squad when it is announced next month.

"The injury’s okay,” Mead told Sky Sports News as she picked up her MBE for her role in England’s Euro 2022 win last summer. “I’m a good five months in and back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule. That’s all I can do that’s in my control right now.

"I wouldn’t say I’m confident [of going to the World Cup] because it’s out of my control, but I’m working hard to get as close to it as possible. But at the end of the day, it’s probably going to be Sarina’s decision."

England captain Leah Williamson will miss the World Cup due to an ACL injury while Fran Kirby is also out of the tournament with a knee problem that requires surgery.

England manager Wiegman said ahead of the Finalissima in April that she did not expect Mead to be ready for the World Cup unless a “miracle happens”.

“I had a conversation with her, she’s doing well, she’s in her rehab, she’s doing good, but the World Cup is actually too early,” Wiegman said.

“So what we said is she’s not in our plans now, just really take the time to get back well.

“If a miracle happens and she goes so fast, then we will reconsider it - but at this moment I don’t expect that.”