Arsenal forward Beth Mead says England boss Sarina Wiegman made a “wise decision” not to risk her for this summer’s Women’s World Cup after injury.
Mead, the top scorer at Euro 2022, was left out of the squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand after failing to recover in time from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The 27-year-old has not played since November and while he has improved, Wiegman said in his squad announcement that he was “not willing to risk pushing him too hard”.
Mead, speaking at the House of WePlayStrong event in Eindhoven ahead of the Women’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Wolfsburg, admitted that sitting out the World Cup was “difficult” but said she understood the call and would be the “No 1 fan” in England.
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“He (Wiegman) talked to me two or three weeks ago and although we both wanted me to go, I think a decision for what I put is that I want to play my best football, that right now I’m probably not because I haven’t had a chance to play enough minutes,” Mead said.
“As a player it’s difficult, because when I leave, people will expect me to be at my best level and maybe now I won’t be able to do that.
“Sarina put it, I am in her future plans; he wants me to be fit, he doesn’t want to risk me to a level and to get my ACL back, because I’m at a higher risk of doing it again.
“So I think it was a good decision in the end.
“I’ve come in with a high level of head throughout the whole process, always talking to Sarina and if I’m given a percentage of hope I’ll be motivated to try and get as close as possible to that because that’s the type of person I am.
“Now I am no longer England’s number one fan and I will support them every step of the way.”
Mead has previously admitted missing out on the 2020 Olympics has dampened a stellar start to the 2021-22 season and says she is now focused on getting back to the “best possible” form for the 2023-24 Women’s Super campaign League.
“I think if I retire next year I’ll tell (Wiegman) I’m fine, but hopefully I’ll have a few more years to do things in England and Arsenal.
“I think I set myself that goal, I didn’t get there, and my new goal is to be in the best position possible for the pre-season.
“The one thing I took away from not going to the Olympics is that I had a good pre-season and probably played my best season on a football pitch, so you can always be positive in one thing and that’s what I’m happy about. good most of the time.”
Mead’s England teammate Leah Williamson will also miss the tournament due to an ACL injury, while France’s Delphine Cascarino will sit out after a partial rupture. USWNT Catarina Macario is still recovering from an ACL injury suffered at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Asked about the potential impact of the schedule, he said: “You go to a World Cup, it’s the biggest competition you can go to and there are some of the best players sitting at home watching because of a lot of games, overworked. , scheduling, difficult.
“Obviously that’s a big disappointment for myself as a player who’s injured now. Is it one game too many? If I look at it from 2,000-odd minutes to 4,000- odd minutes at a time, which is a big and steep jump.
“We want the game to go to that level, but it takes our bodies to that level to do that and some of us have, which is a shame, but injuries are part of football.”
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