Fran Kirby can help England thrive says Chelsea boss Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes hopes new England coach Sarina Wiegman can provide ‘better management’ of striker Fran Kirby and help her thrive for the Lionesses going into next year’s European Championship

  • Fran Kirby returned from a career-threatening illness just over a year ago 
  • She had a successful season with Chelsea helping them win the WSL title 
  • England have not been able to get the best out of the prolific Chelsea striker 
  • Emma Hayes hopes Sarina Wiegman can manage Kirby’s workload better 

Fran Kirby can help England thrive at next year’s Women’s European Championship – as long as new coach Sarina Wiegman gets the Chelsea striker’s workload right, according to her club manager Emma Hayes.

Kirby returned from a career-threatening illness just over a year ago to help the Blues lift the Women’s Super League title and reach the Champions League final, as well as winning the Football Writers’ Association’s Women’s Footballer of the Year award for a second time.

And Hayes says Kirby is so driven that she can have an even better season for club – and also for country if the England set-up understand how best to handle the 28-year-old’s workload.

Fran Kirby had a successful season after returning from a career-threatening illness

England haven’t been able to get the best out of the Chelsea striker since her return

Kirby rebooted her career last August when she recovered from a bout of pericarditis after some cardiologists had warned that she might never play again.

Hayes made sure Kirby’s training and playing load were managed carefully during her comeback but was not so impressed with how the international set-up handled the player, who is Chelsea’s all-time record scorer.

‘Fran is so driven, so ambitious so competitive,’ said Hayes ahead of Chelsea’s trip to the Emirates Stadium for their season-opener against Arsenal this afternoon.

Sarina Wiegman replaces Phil Neville as England’s new head coach this month

Emma Hayes hopes England’s new coach can provide ‘better management’ for Kirby

‘She comes in every day with the desire to keep getting better. I think she could have another great season and a great Euros. 

‘I’m hoping with Sarina in charge that there will be better management of Fran Kirby at national team level. I think that’s something they haven’t got right at any point, and hopefully if they do that, we will see the best of her in a national team shirt.’

Pushed on the point, Hayes added: ‘You have to manage her loading and things like that, and I think, they just haven’t found the right formula for her so far.’

England host next summer’s European Championship, which Wiegman won with her native Netherlands in 2017. She took over as England coach last Wednesday and her first game will be England’s opening World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia at Southampton on Friday September 17.

Kirby has scored 13 goals in 45 games for England so far.

Kirby helped Chelsea win the WSL title and she also won the FWA’s Player of the Year award

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