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Fit-again Mead ready to roar with Sarina's Lionesses
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Dan Fitch
Beth Mead is back in the England squad after injury
Beth Mead is back in the England squad after injury

Beth Mead is ready to make her long-awaited England return following injury. 

The Arsenal forward, 28, is in Sarina Wiegman's squad for the first time since rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in November 2022. 

That absence saw her miss the World Cup earlier this year, when the Lionesses lost in the final to Spain. 

Ahead of England's crucial Nations League match against Netherlands tonight, we take a look at Mead's long road back. 

Stronger person

It has been the most difficult year of Mead's life. 

Shortly after the ACL injury that ended her World Cup dream, she lost her mother after a long battle with cancer. 

The Arsenal star spoke about how she has emerged from this harrowing 12-month period. 

Mead said: "Growing up I would say I was mentally quite weak. 

"I'd like to think the things I've dealt with have made me a stronger and better person." 

After a long rehabilitation process, Mead finally made her return for Arsenal in October, coming on as an 88th-minute sub in the 2-1 Women's Super League victory over Aston Villa. 

Last weekend, she scored her first goals of the season for the Gunners in her seventh match since making her comeback. 

Playing on the right of Arsenal's attack, the Whitby-born star bagged a brace in a 3-0 win over West Ham. 

Tough watch

Mead's successful return for Arsenal saw Wiegman recall her for England, with the Dutch manager explaining her reasons for the decision. 

She said: "That was a very nice phone call, she was very happy. 

"We've had phone calls all the time, since September and October too, because she was training and getting some minutes but I wanted to see more. 

"Her health now is really good, she can just go. We hope she keeps improving but she showed enough for me to bring her in." 

After her call-up, Mead spoke about how difficult it was to miss England's journey to the World Cup final, which she viewed alongside fellow injured team-mate Leah Williamson. 

She said: "Watching the World Cup and not being able to go with the team and help them out. It was a tough watch. 

"I wanted to be there. Kick and tackle and play every ball with them. We were still very emotionally and physically connected. 

"It was difficult. We struggled because we just want to help the team do the best they can do and we got that taken away from us, from not a nice injury." 

Goal record

Beth Mead is back among the goals for Arsenal
Beth Mead is back among the goals for Arsenal

You only have to take a look at Mead's goalscoring record at international level to see what the Lionesses missed during her absence. 

In total she has scored 29 times from 50 appearances. Between 2021 and 2022, she found the net on 21 occasions from just 25 caps. 

This run included her superb performances at Euro 2022, where she finished as the competition's top scorer with six goals. 

With an additional five assists, Mead was also named as the Player of the Tournament as England were crowned European champions. 

It may take time for her to reclaim her Lionesses spot after such a long absence, though — particularly with Chloe Kelly occupying the right flank in recent matches. 

Yet if she can get back to her best, Mead will be vital to the Lionesses' prospects of future silverware.


Arsenal WomenEngland WUEFA Women's Nations League A
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