Chelsea striker not selected in Sampson’s latest squad
Fran Kirby backed Chelsea teammate Eni Aluko yesterday to win her place back in the England team, after the striker was ommitted from the squad for the Euro 2017 double-header against Serbia.
Mark Sampson named his squad on Wednesday for the games next week, with not only Aluko missing out but Man City striker Toni Duggan learning she will not travel with the squad and neither will FA Cup hero Danielle Carter.
Sampson has chosen to give a chance to some new faces this time around, opting to call up to Rachel Daly and Nikita Parris.
Aluko has had a mixed year for the Lionesses. She entered the World Cup as England’s top scorer in qualifying, hitting the back of the net 13 times, but failed to score in Canada.
Since then however, her form has been mixed and though she started in the 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina last month, Sampson has left her out altogether for the next two games.
Kirby did retain her place in the side and believes the 102-cap forward won’t be on the fringes for too long.
“It’s disappointing for her but it’s a decision that Mark’s made,” Kirby said. “It’s difficult with the competition now. You’ve got players who are performing well for their clubs, so you’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything you can and then it’s out of your control.
“With the competition being so high, you never know who’s going to get picked.
“It’s healthy competition. I train with Eni every day and she pushes me and I push her.
“Obviously she was disappointed but she’s the ultimate professional, she’s a quality player and she thrives when she’s had a knock-down, so I have no doubt she’ll be raring to go.”
Aluko was at her best during Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland, which halted Chelsea’s two-game losing streak, and Kirby was pleased to see the disappointment of missing out didn’t stop Aluko from playing a vital part in the win. “She performed extremely well against Sunderland,” Kirby said.
As for Kirby herself, the 22-year-old continued to shine in the Women’s Super League and her winner on Wednesday took her to five goals in six league games — making her the league’s top scorer.
The fact that it was a header was somewhat of a surprise given that Kirby stands at 5'2" and the player dubbed the “Mini Messi” by Sampson during England’s tremendous World Cup was pleased she scored with her head, but knows Chelsea should have won by more than one goal.
“It’s the first header I’d ever scored,” Kirby said. “I’m not sure how it ended 2-1 — it could have been 10-1.”