Chelsea forwardFran Kirby will miss the Women's World Cup as England's bid to win the competition suffered a fresh injury blow.
Kirby has not played since suffering a knee injury while playing for Chelsea against West Ham in February.
The 29-year-old is now set to undergo knee surgery and confirmed on Tuesday that she will not recover in time for the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
"Unfortunately, after a few months of rehab the decision has been made that I will require surgery on my knee," Kirby wrote on Twitter. "I have been trying my best to not have to undergo this but unfortunately my progress has been limited due to the issue in my knee. I'm absolutely gutted to announce that this means my season is over and I will not be able to make the World Cup in the summer. I'm going to be doing everything possible to be ready for the start of next season and want to wish my team-mates at Chelsea the best of luck for the rest of the season and my Lioness team-mates the best of luck for the summer."
Kirby will also miss Chelsea's challenge for a fourth consecutive Women's Super League title and this month's Women's FA Cup final against Manchester United.
Her absence is the latest setback for European champion England ahead of the Women's World Cup, which begins in late July. Kirby started every game and scored twice in England's march to glory at the Women's European Championship last year.
Sarina Wiegman's team had already lost captain Leah Williamson to an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered last month.
Beth Mead sustained the same injury as Williamson in November and is also a doubt. Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright have had surgery on knee injuries, but hope to be fit in time for the tournament.
© Agence France-Presse