Kirby has been sidelined since February with a knee issues after being forced off during Chelsea‘s 7-0 win over West Ham. She hoped to tackle the issue through physiotherapy, but having seen various specialists, she will have the operation this week.
It is expected that Kirby will be out for around a significant amount of time and will play no part at this summer’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand. England begin their campaign on July 22 against Haiti.
Chelsea said in a statement on Tuesday: “Following an injury sustained during our Continental League Cup semifinal against West Ham, Fran has been reviewed at Cobham by the Chelsea medical team.
“Following that review and further discussion with a specialist, Fran is set to undergo surgery and is expected to be sidelined for a significant period.
“Fran will begin a rehabilitation programme with support from the club’s medical team. Everyone at Chelsea sends their best wishes to Fran in her recovery.”
Kirby will miss the remainder of the club’s push for the Women’s Super League title, as well as their FA Cup final against Manchester United on May 14.
The 29-year-old is a key player for both club and country. She has won 65 caps for the Lionesses and started all of their matches last summer as they won Euro 2022.
The forward becomes the latest England star to be ruled out of the competition through injury as Sarina Wiegman faces an ever-increasing list of unavailable players.
Captain Leah Williamson injured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while on Arsenal duty on April 20, with confirmation coming two days later that she was set to face a prolonged spell out of action and would miss the tournament.
Beth Mead, who was named player of the tournament at Euro 2022, also injured her ACL in December. There were hopes she would be fit in time for the competition, but Wiegman said in March that Mead would require a “miracle” to be available.