Fran Kirby still has a lot to give to the sport of soccer, whether it’s with Chelsea or not.
In a recent interview with BBC Sport, Kirby opened up about body image issues that she’s struggled with – particularly in the face of comments on social media. But she also spoke about her contract with Chelsea, which has six months remaining.
Currently, she says, the two aren’t in talks about a new contract. Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is set to depart the club upon the conclusion of the season to manage the U.S. women’s national team.
“At the moment there has been no conversations between myself and the club. I want to continue playing football and continue playing football at a high level,” she said. “I still feel I have a lot to give wherever I am, whether that’s at Chelsea or that has to be somewhere else. But I love the club. I’ve been here a long time and have some great friendships with players and staff.
“I still want to be competing and playing consistently so obviously that’s a decision that has to be made.”
Kirby has struggled with injuries in her career, but thus far has been available for Chelsea in every match during the current WSL campaign. Admittedly, though, the injuries have frustrated her in the past.
“You do question how many times you can go through something. It’s never an easy thing. I also have frustrations with my body and its limitations,” she added. “Playing football is something I still enjoy doing. I still have that really competitive nature inside me. I will keep playing until that fizzles out.
“I remember coming on against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge and hearing the crowd. Hearing that was knowing what I had done was being appreciated.”
The 30-year-old has played for Chelsea since 2015, making 101 appearances for the Blues and scoring 61 goals. That includes an outstanding 2020-21 campaign in which she scored 16 goals in 18 appearances and helped the club to the FA Cup. That season, Chelsea became the first English women’s club to secure the domestic quadruple (FA Women’s Community Shield, FA Women’s League Cup, FA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s Super League).
They also finished as Champions League runners-up that season. She’s currently the team’s all-time leading scorer.
A knee injury kept Kirby out of England’s World Cup campaign last summer, and limited her time with Chelsea last season to just 16 games (eight in the WSL).
“It’s not easy but my most recent [knee injury] was probably the easiest one to come back from because as soon as I had surgery, I didn’t have any pain. That was a relief in itself,” she said. “Of course, missing a World Cup is not a nice feeling at all. I was super proud of watching the girls but there was always that feeling inside, wishing you were there.
“It was still hard. I won’t sit here and say it was the best time of my life going through rehab while everyone was at the World Cup – because it wasn’t. But I tried to stay in a good place mentally. I wanted to be ready for the start of the season and to be able to do that made it all worth it.”