Chloe Kelly admits she is “loving every minute” following her eye-catching return to England duty ahead of next month’s home Euros.
The Lionesses beat Belgium 3-0 at Molineux on Wednesday in the first of three warm-up fixtures building up to the tournament that begins on July 6.
Kelly was introduced at half-time for her first international appearance since suffering an ACL injury in May 2021, and England subsequently went ahead in the 62nd minute when the winger’s shot deflected in off Amber Tysiak.
The Manchester City player last featured for her country in April 2021, shortly before getting injured.
A good one under the lights ✨ pic.twitter.com/ISGI0C4XVO
— Lucy Bronze (@LucyBronze) June 16, 2022
Asked what it meant to be back playing in an England shirt, Kelly said: “It’s brilliant.
“Enjoying every minute, proud to wear the shirt, and to score for my country is brilliant. To be back with the girls, back in the squad, I’m loving every minute.
“Looking back at the past year, it’s been a journey, but to come this far, it’s so great.”
While there was some question over whether it was Kelly’s goal – to break her international duck, on her eighth cap – or an own goal, the 24-year-old was in no doubt, saying with a smile: “I just watched it back, it definitely is (my goal).
“It definitely was going on target, so I’m claiming that one.”
It came a day on from the confirmation that she had the made the cut as Sarina Wiegman’s Euros squad was reduced from a provisional 28 to a final 23.
Kelly said: “Honestly, I was nearly crying. So many tears in my eyes, so much emotion.
“I just FaceTimed my family, because I know how much it means to them, just as much as it means to me, because they’ve been through this past 12 months with me every step of the way.
Good start from the team ❤️🦁 pic.twitter.com/Hb06RlCBTO
— Alex Greenwood (@AlexGreenwood) June 17, 2022
“Each day was so tough in my rehab and I think looking back, you appreciate those moments that get you here – the blood, sweat and tears really.”
England added a second goal four minutes after Kelly’s strike through another substitute, Rachel Daly, and the third then came in the 83rd minute as captain Leah Williamson’s shot hit the bar and went in off goalkeeper Nicky Evrard.
Wiegman’s side face Holland – the team she guided to Euro 2017 glory – at Elland Road next Friday and then Switzerland in Zurich six days later before taking on Austria at Old Trafford in the Euros’ opening match.