Keira Walsh may make a shocking return for England’s last-16 Women’s World Cup conflict towards Nigeria.
Walsh was carried off on a stretcher late within the first half of the Lionesses’ 28 July victory over Denmark, with fears that the influential midfielder’s event might be over, however scans revealed her knee damage was not as critical as first suspected.
The 26-year-old took one other step ahead in her restoration when she joined her team-mates in coaching on the Central Coast Stadium on the eve of their last-16 showdown, earlier than England flew to Brisbane forward of the knockout encounter.
England boss Sarina Wiegman stated: “She is doing well. She started her rehab straight after we knew what was going on.
“She has been on the pitch, she has been training today. Now we will wait until [we see] how she recovers from that training session and if she does well then she is available tomorrow.”
The Dutch boss, who led the Netherlands to the World Cup closing 4 years in the past in France, wouldn’t reveal particularly what damage Walsh had sustained, however did add: “I can only say that there wasn’t a ligament injury.
“Of course that moment in that game against Denmark, that was a very hard moment, but after the assessments and [when] we knew what was going on, we also said don’t take any assumptions. Just wait until a proper assessment has been done. “That’s what we did and then we got the green light to just get her rehab started.
“Everybody is going on about injuries all the time, but the day after we noticed things were much better.”
The second Walsh was stretchered off – grimacing, telling staff workers “I’ve done my knee” and warding off assist from team-mates – England followers started to worry that she was the latest sufferer of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disaster going through ladies’s soccer.
European champions Leah Williamson and Beth Mead have been dominated out with that damage forward of this event, whereas Fran Kirby additionally underwent surgical procedure for a separate knee challenge.
Wiegman caught to the Lionesses’ normal 4-3-3 formation within the quick aftermath of Walsh’s damage and introduced in Manchester City’s Laura Coombs for the rest of the 1-0 Denmark victory, however towards China handed Manchester United captain Katie Zelem her first England begin and switched to a 3-5-2, which paid off with a thumping 6-1 victory.
Wiegman added: “We have two options now. The way we played and what we did against China, we have taken that into consideration.”
Nigeria head coach Randy Waldrum is assured in his plan for nevertheless England line up, with or with out Walsh.
He stated: “Obviously, she’s a key player in the midfield for them. Kind of like we had to do for Australia and Sam Kerr, we had to prepare with and without, we have to do the same.
“England has so many weapons. All of those players are playing all over the world in high-profile settings. There are more that can do damage to us than just her. They’ve given us a lot of challenges to prepare for and it will just be another one if she comes in.
“We have to prepare for both, as a coach I would expect her to go with a back three because they played ever so well like that.
“We also know they’re going to adapt to how they can best play against us so we have to prepare for both situations, that’s what makes the job challenging because we don’t have a lot of time. We’ve tried this week to prepare for both and we’ll see which way they come out.
“[Sarina Wiegman] has done a fantastic job with England, since she took over you can see the progression of the team.
“When I look at a coach and try to analyse, if I don’t know them personally, you look at the team and tell if they have an idea. In their organisation, they look like they have a plan [and] a way they want to play.”