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Fran Kirby knee blow for England Women

Fran Kirby has withdrawn from the England Women squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Canada and Spain because of a knee problem, the Football Association has announced.

The FA said in a statement on Tuesday that the Chelsea forward had returned to her club due to “knee pain which requires careful management.”

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Manchester City defender Gemma Bonner has been called up to the Lionesses squad.

The FA said the decision over Kirby was made “taking a long-term approach to her injury management with a view to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.”

Kirby wrote on Twitter: “Disappointed to not be involved with the squad this week, but I’m looking forward to watching and supporting them in their up coming games. Let’s go @Lionesses.”

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England face Canada in Manchester on Friday and then Spain in Swindon four days later in the first two of four home ‘Road to France Series’ warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup, which starts on June 7.

Kirby, 25, has played 37 times for England, scoring 12 goals. She was named PFA and FWA player of the year last season, when Chelsea won the Women’s Super League and FA Cup, and was subsequently among the nominees for the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or.