England’s keeper paid tribute to the mental strength of Sarina Wiegman’s squad after they moved agonisingly close to sealing a spot in the knock-out stages

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Football Digest: Reaction to Keira Walsh’s injury against Denmark

Mary Earps saluted the Lionesses’ true grit as they refused to be diverted from their World Cup goal.

‌England’s keeper paid tribute to the mental strength of Sarina Wiegman’s squad after they moved agonisingly close to sealing a spot in the knock-out stages.

‌They did so against the backdrop of a horrific injury to star performer Keira Walsh whose tournament appears to be over following an issue with her knee.

‌It is the latest in a long list of injuries that have befallen the Lionesses as they look to land the game’s biggest prize.

‌Skipper Leah Williamson, striker Beth Mead and playmaker Fran Kirby were all ruled out months before the squad departed Down Under.

‌But skipper Millie Bright also faced a race against time to be fit - she hadn’t played in four months until she stepped out against Haiti.

‌And while Walsh’s knock may not be as bad as first feared, it is nevertheless a significant body blow.

‌Earps said: “What happened to Keira was tough. You could see it disrupted our rhythm in the first half. I thought we were doing really well and we had some really good connective play.

‌“It’s always sad when you see your teammate go down and I hope it’s nothing too serious. But we are a resilient group. We’re going to keep going, fighting and putting our best feet forward as we always do.

Earps is backing England to recover from Walsh's injury Earps is backing England to recover from Walsh’s injury (



‌“Things like this can make you stronger. I think you’ve seen that through the adversity we faced coming into the tournament. I feel like we are a group that’s together - we’re winning and keeping clean sheets.

‌“That’s what we aim to do. We always want clean performances and I think you can see that this tournament is hard, tough. Most games have been very tight, bar very few, and that shows you the standard and versatility of each team.”

‌Rachel Daly, who was moved to left-back where she performed so well during the European Championships, echoed Earps’s comments

‌She said: “Losing a player with Keira’s ability is a tough one.

‌“She’s such an integral part of the way we play and it’s tough. But that’s why Sarina has built a squad. We’ve got depth and Laura Coombs came on and did really well.

‌“It’s obviously heartbreaking for Keira. But this group is special. It’s got some unbelievable characters.

‌“It’s not just about what you see in performances on the pitch, the girls off it are special, the staff as well. Sarina has built a squad around that. She doesn’t just think of the team play, it’s everyone as a whole.

‌“Other players are ready to go and are available. And we have to rally around each other now, especially for Keira’s sake.”

Rachel Daly has also hailed the squad's mental strength Rachel Daly has also hailed the squad’s mental strength (


Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

‌The Lionesses’ resilience and determination to get the job done was commendable after they lost Walsh.

‌That they picked up another three points was down to the influence of Lauren James.

‌Thanks to the Chelsea forward’s wonderful sixth-minute strike, Wiegman’s side had something to defend.

‌Daly said: “LJ’s just a strength to the team. She’s phenomenal. You saw what she can do and there were other glimpses too.

‌“I link up closely with her in training - and off the pitch as well - we’ve had a lot of conversations in the last few days.

‌“I might have passed her the ball but I can’t take any credit other than that - she’s just an unbelievable player.”