Ian Wright hails Fran Kirby for overcoming personal tragedy and heart condition to become Chelsea legend

IAN WRIGHT has hailed Chelsea icon Fran Kirby for overcoming personal tragedy and a rare heart condition to become the club's all-time top scorer.

The Arsenal legend reckons Kirby should be a regular starter for England and picked for the Team GB squad at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Pericarditis — an inflammation of the lining around the heart, and told she may never play football again last November.

But she hit FOUR goals in Chelsea's 5-0 romp at Reading last time out as a two finger salute to the rare heart condition, having made an emotional return to the WSL this season.

On Wrighty's House podcast, the Gunners hero said: "She gave up at 16-years-old.

"So when you look at what she's gone through there with the Pericarditis and losing her mum, giving up again.

"And then you're looking at Chelsea they're signing Sam Kerr, Guro Reiten, Pernille Harder, and the emergence of Beth England.

"We know she's been very vocal on mental mental health but she's got to get flowers simply because of what she's been through.

"People don't realise what the journey takes, because now maybe her scoring four goals is for people to understand what she's done to get to this place.

"She has had to fight to get back to get into that team to score those four goals."

The Chelsea forward – dubbed the ‘Mini Messi’ – filtered through the youth ranks at her hometown club, Reading, but almost quit football as a teenager after the tragic death of her mother, Denise.

Her mum had suffered a brain haemorrhage and sadly died the next day in hospital when Kirby was age 14.

She has gone on to become one of England’s best players, a winner of PFA and FWA awards and a Ballon d’Or nominee in 2018.

But long before she became a star of two World Cups, Kirby admitted it all could have been so different when grief consumed her and left her unable to get out of bed.

Wright added: "She should be in and around the England side.

"She should be in and around that GB side now as a starter, after her form.

"I literally cannot praise her high enough from what she's been through because being a player whose been fortunate enough to not get the injuries that some people get,

"But real health condition and come back from it and do what she's doing now. I don't think I've got enough flowers."

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