Pernille Harder opens up on tough injury battle as sheyeEngl
Harder has missed half of the season through injury and is out of contract in the summer - but gave an update on her return to fitness with the 2023 FIFA World Cup also looming this summer
Chelseas Denmark internationalPernille Harderhas opened up on her battle to return to fitness as she aims to return ahead of a crunchWorld Cup meeting with Englandthis summer.
The Danish star, 30, is in a race to get herself fit before the end of the season, having undergone surgery on a hamstring injury she picked up oninternationalduty back in November. If Harder, who has 140 caps for her national side, is able to get herself fit, she is likely to line-up up against anEngland sideshe knows extremely well at the finals this summer.
Denmark face the Lionesses, who are vying to secure a second major international title after winning the Euros last summer, on July 28 in Sydney. Both will be looking to get outof Group D,which also contains China and play-off qualifiers Haiti. Although she hasnt put an exact timeframe on her return, Harder is hoping to play her part.
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My recovery is going really good, she told Mirror Football. Everything has gone as planned with the rehab. It was a big injury unfortunately - but generally Ive been lucky for so long throughout my career. It was tough.
I could feel it right away, I couldnt even walk so knew something was wrong. It wasnt a surprise it was a big injury. But everything so far has gone the way it should, Im back on the training pitch working with the physios.
Im increasing my intensity week-by-week and feel good. My focus now is just to get match fit. Obviously, it isnt a case of going straight on the pitch and then Ill be ready to play full games. My hamstring will have to get used to the intensity and the load, but were increasing that every week now.
Of course it is always special to play against the country where you are playing, and at the World Cup itself, so I want to get back. Im really excited about it. I know it will be really difficult because England are in great form and have been for a few years now.
So it will be a challenge, but it will also be a really big experience for our team.
Harders native Denmark are also currently part of a joint-Nordic bid to host Euro 2025, with the final decision set to be made on April 4 and she is firmly supporting their campaign to host the tournament. And theChelseaattacker, who scored the Danes only goal at the last European Championships, believes it would transform womens football in her home country.
It (if the bid wins) would be a huge boost, said Harder. I think it could start a really good development of the womens game in Denmark.
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It would give a lot to the domestic league. But also it would be huge for kids across Denmark, to see a Euros at home. It would give a lot of dreams to that next generation. It would be a real kickstart for the development of our domestic game, which has already started.
I think for all the Nordics we have some really good values that will hopefully show in the tournament. We can use the best of each country, which we help the womens game.
I think our fans deserve it, it would be amazing to give the Danish fans some tournament games at home and feel the atmosphere. It would be a national party around the games. We are good at that, we saw it for the mens Euros games in Copenhagen, and Im sure it will be the same for the womens Euros.
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Prior to her injury, Harder cemented herself as one of Chelseas most-consistent performers since arriving for a record transfer fee in 2020. Her future is still to be resolved, with her contract with the Blues expiring in the summer, as does the deal of her off-the-field partner, Magda Eriksson.
Regardless of whether this proves to be her last year at the WSL champions, Harder says the team have coped superbly this season despite having multiple long-term injuries to deal with.
The fact we are still going for three trophies (after the injuries) shows what a big squad we have, she said. And also the quality of the squad.
We have 23, 24 players who could all be starting. We have so many internationals playing at a high level and so many that are real top quality. Even though we get injuries we have high quality players to come in.
Its an amazing squad. Time will show in the (UEFA Womens)Champions League, playing both domestic and Europe is really different, but we do have quality. It could be the year, but I dont want to say too much too early, well take it one (round) at a time.
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