Beth Mead said it was tough having to watch from afar as England reached the World Cup final in her absence as the Arsenal forward prepares to return to the international scene.
Mead won the Golden Boot and was named player of the tournament when the Lionesses won Euro 2022 on home soil.
But an anterior cruciate ligament injury robbed her of the chance to feature in the World Cup as Sarina Wiegman’s women reached the final earlier this year.
“It’s been a year since I was here. I’ve worked hard, I’ve had a lot of tough days, and I’m just super proud of myself, being able to get back into the fold and hopefully help the team at some point,” Mead told a press conference on Tuesday.
“(The World Cup) was a tough watch. I wanted to be there and kick and tackle and do every ball with them.
“But those bad days feel so much better now I’m here and back on the pitch and doing what I love again. I’m very proud of what I’ve overcome in that time.”
Mead’s return is welcome, with England in danger of missing out on the top spot of its Nations League group and a place at next year’s Olympics as a result.
It faces the Netherlands at Wembley on Friday, needing a victory to have any chance of winning the group.
Mead could come up against her partner and Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema, who has also recently returned from an ACL injury.
“We’ve seen the good and bad days from each other, and we’ve been there to get each other to this point,” Mead added.
“So it’s really nice we can both hopefully get the chance to get on the pitch at the same time at some point.”
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