England and Arsenal’s Beth Mead set for long absence due to knee injury

The England forward Beth Mead faces a fight to be fit for the World Cup next summer after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament with Arsenal having announced she “is set for an extended period on the sidelines”. The 27-year-old sustained the injury in Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 Women’s Super League loss to Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium. Mead was seen to be in a lot of pain after going down and left the stadium on crutches.

On Sunday, fans feared the worst after the forward was forced to postpone a signing and talk at Shoreditch Town Hall for the launch of her book ‘Lioness: My Journey to Glory’ which had been due to take place on Monday evening.

A statement from Arsenal on Tuesday said: “We can confirm that Beth Mead suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in our match against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Unfortunately, this means that Beth is set for an extended period on the sidelines. She will see a surgeon in the coming days, after which further details on timescales will be established.

“Everyone at the club will now be supporting Beth and working hard to get her back on the pitch as soon as possible.”

Mead has scored three goals in the WSL and two in the Champions League for the Gunners this season, which follows her starring role in England’s triumph at the Euros during the summer. She was named player of the tournament and claimed the Golden Boot with six goals. Last month, she was named the Ballon d’Or runner-up behind Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who ruptured her ACL on the eve of the Euros in the summer, and was announced as the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.

She has scored 29 goals for England and received her 50th cap against Japan in the national team’s penultimate game of the year, a 4-0 friendly defeat of Japan.

The World Cup kicks off on 20 July next year in Australia and New Zealand. England begin Group D on 22 July against the winner of Play-Off Group B in Brisbane before facing Denmark and China.