Jordan Nobbs interview: ‘Leaving the England camp was hard but the right thing to do’

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

When she arrived at the latest England camp with an injury niggle, the temptation for Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs was to soldier on.

You can hardly blame Nobbs for thinking that way, with knee injuries cruelly denying her the chance to play for the Lionesses at Euro 2022 and the World Cup three years earlier.

The 29-year-old is clearly hungry to make up for lost time, but even so she knows her body better than every now after coming through her injury troubles and it is why she took the decision to pull out of the latest England squad this month due to a minor quad tear.

“It was bad timing for me,” says Nobbs, who is back in training now and hoping to play for Arsenal this weekend when they host Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.

“I have just got to keep going with what comes with football. I got through a lot of injuries with mental toughness. Something like that won’t break me, but it was obviously bad timing.

“I was excited to be part of the squad. Sarina [Wiegman] was amazing with the situation and wants the best for the player. It was the right thing to do, but it was hard to leave camp.”

Few players have had worse luck with injuries than Nobbs, who could also play just once at the 2015 World Cup due to a hamstring problem.

That was the first of a string of setbacks that stopped her playing at major tournaments, but the midfielder is stronger for the experiences.

“I have obviously gone through good and bad days,” she says. “I know everyone says they learn about their body, but probably last week at England camp I’d have powered through and not said anything.

“But actually it’s what is best for my body. It’s been tough. You look at the start of the season, I did my ankle ligaments from a tackle I couldn’t prevent. But I think it is just about staying in it.

“My dad has been there for me. He has been through it as he used to play football.

“My love for football and getting back on the pitch is so mentally driven. That’s my aim every time something happens. Playing for Arsenal or trying to get back in the England squad is just my aim every time.”

After a steady start to the season, Nobbs has impressed in recent weeks and scored in back-to-back games after finding the net against Zurich and then West Ham.

The 29-year-old has been used in a number of roles by Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall, who values her experience, and Nobbs has adapted her game to try and maintain her fitness.

You can’t always expect football to be an easy ride.

“Mine is kind of about not spiking as a player,” she explains. “I can kind of have time off and then obviously the way I play is very 101mph, so I think that is just getting my body to that stage before then spiking in a game.

“I think that is something that we have looked at, so my body is prepared for what we might do.

“You can’t always expect football to be an easy ride and I think my main thing is probably learning from past experiences.

“You never want to see a player throw in the towel and I can gladly say I have worked hard in every session. I have been there for the team no matter what. It’s about being a team player. You want what’s best for the team.”

As well as injuries, Nobbs was also overlooked for the Olympics squad in 2021. Her Arsenal team-mate Beth Mead suffered the same fate, before bouncing back last season to shine for club and country.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mead has gone on to come second in the Ballon d’Or and Nobbs is using her comeback as inspiration.

“Obviously I am super proud of Beth and what she’s achieved,” she says. “You can see that from one season to another season, how quick football can change.

“I am definitely in a good headspace right now to fight for my spot and fight for my shirt. I have felt a lot freer on the pitch recently when I have been coming on.”

With Arsenal top of the Women’s Super League and a World Cup on the horizon, the hope is Nobbs has left her injury woes behind her.

At long last it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel for a player who is due a slice of luck after years of heartache.