There have been plenty of stories about all the new signings ahead of the start of the Women’s Super League and Championship season. One that has gone under the radar is Fran Kitching and her comeback from a horrific training ground injury, images of which were all over the media for a few days but then she seemed to be forgotten about.
Just a few months ago everyone was shocked at the images of the damage that potentially put her career in jeopardy, not just the physical damage, but also the psychological impact. As a goalkeeper you have to brave (or daft as a brush) to throw yourself at a players feet. To do it again after that injury takes incredible mental strength. Her recovery has not been helped by the lockdown caused by Covid-19 and then complicated further by her departure from Liverpool.
It would have been easy to sit at home feeling sorry for herself, instead, Fran worked tirelessly on her fitness over that period to ensure that she would be in probably the best physical shape of her career for the start of the new season. She had to watch on as clubs signed keepers from home and abroad, whilst she seemed to be forgotten about. It may be that clubs thought that injury had put pay to her career, if that was the case, how wrong they are. They obviously do not know her as a person.
Her friends and family never doubted she would be back. They know and understand just how much Fran wants to be not just a footballer, but the very best she can be. They know the work she puts in away from the training ground to make it a reality
If Fran starts tomorrows for Sheffield United away at London City Lionesses it will signal a remarkable comeback from that injury. Her father Gary, a lifelong Blades fan will be rightly bursting with pride.
She will have overcome the physical side, the mental scars, the moments you ask yourself if you want to play again. She will have overcome those doubters who wrote her off and what better place to do it, than back playing for the club where it all started.
When she makes her first save, she will prove that far from being daft as a brush, she is the one of the toughest, bravest and most determined players in the top tiers of the women’s game.
Knock Fran down at your peril because what is 100% guaranteed is she will bounce straight back up better and stronger than before…
Just a shame it’s left to me to highlight her efforts!