Chelsea and England striker Fran Kirby will take time out from football for an indefinite period as she battles ongoing health struggles.
The 28-year-old, who has not played for club or country since February, spent over nine months on the sidelines after being diagnosed with a heart condition at the end of 2019.
Kirby said on Twitter: ‘I’m sad that I have to write to you all another message like this. With this being an on-going issue throughout my career, it was time to put my health first.
‘Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to message, I’m doing everything to try and come back once again.
‘But until then, I will be Chelsea and the Lionesses biggest fan with you all.’
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, whose side play Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday, said at a press conference earlier on Friday that Kirby has been suffering with fatigue.
Hayes said: ‘I don’t have a definitive reason why that is, we don’t know, but we’re trying to get to the bottom of it and taking the time we can to try and find the right solutions for Fran.
‘This is something that’s been ongoing and unfortunately until we get to the bottom of it Fran won’t be available for selection.’
Kirby was voted Women’s Super League player of the season last year, having played a key role for Chelsea in their treble-winning campaign and scored in England’s Arnold Clark Cup win against Germany in February