Fran Kirby has called the current group of England players the most ‘together’ she’s been a part of, ahead of a pair of mid-season friendlies in the coming week.
Friday’s game against Canada will be the Lionesses’ first since they won the SheBelieves Cup last month in the US, and Kirby told 90min this week that spirits are high in the camp.
“Everyone here is in such a good place when they come to the England camp, everyone enjoys it, everyone feels good, everyone’s confident coming in. You’re getting picked for England, there’s nothing bigger than that.
“To win something when you’re representing your country is amazing. We had a trip to Qatar the previous month which helped gel the team together more than it ever has been, and we took that into SheBelieves and it’s grown and grown and grown.”
Kirby moves from a goalscoring role to a more creative one for the national team, setting up three of England’s seven goals in the US without scoring – having scored seven league goals for Chelsea without providing a single assist in the WSL this season.
Although she insisted that the change in role is something she’s happy to take, a couple of missed chances appear to be weighing on her mind a month later.
“I always judge myself on creating opportunities and taking opportunities,” she said. “I just want to be involved in the play. Whether that’s creating chances for people – I’m more of a 10 for England, I know I’m not going to score many goals – but if I can contribute in any way then I will.
“Even at SheBelieves, I had opportunities to score that I probably should’ve so I was a bit disappointed there. I was happy to get the assists, but I’ll always judge myself on the opportunities that I’ve missed, that’s the kind of player I am. I’m quite critical of my own performance, but at the same time I’m happy when I can contribute and we win.”
When 90min expressed doubt that there were any gilt-edged chances Kirby missed in the three games in the US, she interrupted: “Brazil. First game. Left foot. Went wide. I’ve got it in my mind…it was minute 22. Not that I’m still thinking about it…”