Fran Kirby’s season ended in late April after the decision was made to operate and clear up an “impingement” in her right knee, which caused her to miss not only the run-in with Chelsea but the 2023 Women’s World Cup with England. But she’s made a quick recovery and was back on the pitch for the start of preseason training a few weeks ago, and back in the lineup for tonight’s friendly against AS Roma.
Additional things you love to see: Kirby setting up Guro Reiten to score Chelsea’s first goal of the night, after Roma grabbed an early lead in what turned out to be a flowing, wide open, entertaining exhibition. While Kirby herself was kept off the scoresheet by some acrobatic goalkeeping, especially in the second half, she seemed to not show too many ill-effects of that latest injury layoff, and would play over 75 minutes.
Also love to see: Lauren James scoring from range, Mia Fishel, Ashley Lawrence and Sjoeke Nüsken making their debuts, and young Aggie Beever-Jones winning late on for the Blues with a heads-up play on a corner. The 20-year-old looked around nervously after scoring, believing that she might have been offside, but VAR, which was (finally) being trialled at a WSL ground for the first time, confirmed the goal.
Emma Hayes & Co (with Sam Kerr soon joining up as well) now head off to training camp in Portugal before the WSL season starts on October 1 with a match against Spurs at Stamford Bridge.