The Wokingham Paper

Reading FC Women star Kirby admits “shock” at World Cup call

Credit NigelHoyle/GoalShots
Credit - Nigel Hoyle/GoalShots

Reading Women’s striker Fran Kirby declared her shock and pride at being called up to the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Canada.

Kirby, 21, has been in fine form for Royals in the past two years and that was rewarded by being named in Mark Sampson’s final 23 for the event which kicks off in June.

Speaking to BBC, she said: “It was more surprising than anything else.

“Obviously I’ve been playing well but it is still always a shock to the system when you get a phone call saying you’re going to the World Cup.”

This was an historical moment for English women’s football with Kirby becoming both the first player from WSL 2 as well as Reading’s first ever star to make a World Cup finals squad.

Kirby, who quit football four years ago after suffering from depression following the death of her mother, added: “I’m really thankful to Mark and the rest of the team for putting trust in me.

“Two years ago, I wouldn’t have said I’d be anywhere near (the squad) but I’m really proud to be here.”

Royals’ attacker will have a fight on her hands for a starting berth in Canada with Manchester City’s Toni Duggan, Chelsea’s Eni Aluko and Arsenal striker Lianne Sanderson the likely preferred choices with Ellen White and Jodie Taylor also taken as striking options.

But Kirby feels being a bit of an unknown quantity could see her add to the eight senior caps she has already earned.

She continued: “A lot of teams don’t know much about me and I’m quite small, so a lot of teams could underestimate me.

“I don’t know much about them and they don’t know much about me, so it plays into my hands more than anything.

“The most important thing is gaining experience, especially at my age. I’m hoping to get as many minutes on the pitch as possible.”

Sampson’s charges begin their tournament against france (June 9) before Group F clashes with Mexico (June 13) and Colombia (June 17).

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Carly Telford (Notts County)

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Laura Bassett (Notts County), Alex Greenwood (Notts County), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Casey Stoney (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Fara Williams (Liverpool), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Birmingham), Karen Carney (Birmingham), Jo Potter (Birmingham), Katie Chapman (Chelsea)

Forwards: Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Eni Aluko (Chelsea), Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns), Fran Kirby (Reading), Ellen White (Notts County).

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