Earps: England will battle through injury crisis


England goalkeeper Mary Earps said the team will continue battling on despite their growing injury list and has called for more research to be done on the spate of ACL injuries in women’s football.

England’s 1-0 win over Denmark on Friday was overshadowed by an injury in the first half to their star midfielder Keira Walsh. The Barcelona midfielder injured her right knee in the 35th minute and was stretchered off.

The FA has since confirmed Walsh has avoided an ACL injury, but will miss their next group stage match against China on Tuesday with the rest of her World Cup in doubt.

Walsh’s injury is the latest setback for England with the Lionesses battling a growing injury list. They came into this tournament without Fran Kirby, Leah Williamson and Beth Mead — all three sidelined with knee injuries. Despite the growing list of star absentees, Earps is adamant the team will battle on.

“We are a resilient group,” Earps said on Friday after the win. “We’re going to keep going and fighting and put our best foot forward as we always do.”

When asked if the injuries can act as a galvanizing effect, Earps said: “Absolutely. I think you’ve seen that through the adversity we’ve faced coming into the tournament. I feel like we are a group that’s together.”

Rachel Daly echoed Earps’ sentiments.

“This group is special, it’s got some unbelievable characters, it’s not just about what you see in performances on the pitch, the girls off the pitch are just special, special people, the staff as well,” Daly said. “Sarina’s [Wiegman] built a squad around that, she doesn’t just think of the team play, it’s everyone as a whole, character on and off the pitch. But we have to rally around each other now.”

While Walsh avoided an ACL injury, the number of players suffering ACL injuries in the women’s game is a grave concern. Both Mead and Williamson are missing as they recover from ACL injuries, while other countries have also been hit. Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema, France‘s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Canada‘s Janine Beckie, and the American pair of Christen Press and Catarina Macario are also missing the tournament through ACL injuries.

Haiti‘s Jennyfer Limage picked up an ACL injury in their opening round 1-0 defeat to England and it’s something on the minds of Wiegman’s squad.

“I don’t think you can think about it, for me, those three letters [ACL] scare the absolute you-know-what out of me,” Daly said.

Earps took it a step further, calling for more research to be done on why there are so many ACL injuries in the women’s game.

“It’s the talk of the town — that more research can be done,” Earps said. “And hopefully that will definitely happen.”


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