Millie misses out

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‘Disappointment’ doesn’t do it justice. Blues defender Millie Bright has been forced to pull out of the England squad for the SheBelieves Cup, writes Jane Grove.

The 25-year-old has been replaced by Manchester City rival Gemma Bonner.

Millie’s withdrawal has been put down to “the long-term management of her return to full fitness”. Although she did play (and play well) in Chelsea’s weekend FA Cup demolition of the Gunners, she was forced to sit out the home game against Birmingham at the end of January.

The club has stated that Millie’s relinquishing of her England place is to allow her to “undergo treatment” for the unspecified injury, to ensure she’s fit for the World Cup in France in June.

Chelsea do, however, have three representatives in the Lionesses squad for the four-team tournament, which starts in the United States later this month, as Carly Telford, Karen Carney and Fran Kirby have all been called up.

“It’s obviously disappointing for Millie to miss out on the SheBelieves Cup through injury, but our priority – and Millie’s – is to manage her rehabilitation very carefully,” said England manager Phil Neville. “We are taking a long-term approach to her recovery process to ensure she is back to full fitness in time for this summer’s World Cup in France.”

Millie will sit out tonight’s Chelsea v Bristol City match.

England face Brazil on February 27, the USA on March 2 and Japan on March 5.