Beth Mead is back with the England national team after tearing her ACL a year ago.
Mead last featured for England in November 2022, but she suffered an ACL tear with Arsenal later that month. As a result, the 28-year-old forward missed the World Cup for the Lionesses.
In May of this year, Mead described her recovery as “ahead of schedule,” saying she hoped to make the World Cup. But at the time, England coach Sarina Wiegman said it would be a “miracle” if Mead were healthy in time for the tournament.
“I am back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule,” Mead said in May. “That’s all I can do that’s in my control right now.”
Mead did not make it back for the World Cup in July, but she returned to the pitch with Women’s Super League club Arsenal in October. And on Tuesday, Wiegman said her conversation with Mead when calling her into this camp was a “very nice phone call.”
“Of course that’s really nice,” she said. “She’s played minutes. She’s in a good place and still building. But that was a very nice phone call and she was very happy.”
The Lionesses did fine at the World Cup, reaching the final even without Mead and Leah Williamson. But they’ve struggled this fall, and their hopes of making the Olympics and topping their Nations League group are hanging by a thread after a loss to Belgium in October.
England faces a tall test in its next Nations League games. The Lionesses will face the Netherlands on Dec. 1 at Wembley and Scotland on Dec. 5 at Hampden Park. If they are to top their group, they’ll need to win both games. And if they want to guarantee their Olympic qualification, they’ll need to reach the final of the Nations League.
“We know we’ll need to win our last two games of 2023 and we’ll give everything we have for that outcome,” Wiegman said. “This group have shown resilience and strength of character time and time again and I have absolutely no doubts we’ll be ready to go when the whistle blows for both fixtures.”