England's Beth Mead 'ahead of schedule' in ACL recovery; still in race to be fit for Women's World Cup

Kirby's absence another 'huge blow' to England's World Cup hopes (1:32)

Tom Hamilton explains the impact Fran Kirby's absence will have on England's chances of World Cup glory. (1:32)

England forward Beth Mead said on Wednesday she is "ahead of schedule" in her recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and is trying her hardest to be ready for the Women's World Cup.

Mead ruptured her ACL in Arsenal's 3-2 loss to Manchester United in November and the timing of the injury meant she faced a race against time to be fit for this summer's tournament.

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Mead was one of the stars of England's Euro 2022 triumph, picking up the Golden Boot and the Player of the Tournament award, but England were braced to be without their star forward for the World Cup.

Wiegman said in March that Mead needed a "miracle" to be fit for the tournament, but the 28-year-old has offered a glimmer of hope, saying she is ahead of schedule in her recovery.

Mead told Sky Sports: "The injury is OK. I'm a good five months in now, I am back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule, so that's all I can do in my control right now."

The forward was talking at Windsor Castle as she picked up an MBE. She added to the Press Association: "It's starting to be a little bit more normal again but it's been a long, tough period. I will try my hardest to get as close to that as possible, but [the World Cup] may be a little bit too soon for me this time around."

England are already without captain Leah Williamson and forward Fran Kirby for the tournament due to injury. Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright is also sidelined, but hopeful of making the tournament.