‘Words are a struggle’ for Simone Magill after tournament-ending injury

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Northern Ireland striker Simone Magill says “words are a struggle right now” after her Euro 2022 tournament was ended by an ACL injury.

Magill, who only joined Aston Villa last week, faces a long spell on the sidelines after being injured in Northern Ireland’s 4-1 defeat to Norway on Thursday.

The 27-year-old came off with just over 10 minutes remaining of Northern Ireland’s maiden game at a major tournament, with scans on Friday confirming her competition was over.

“Words are a struggle right now,” Magill wrote on Twitter.

“Playing in a major tournament was always the dream. So glad I made it here – nothing will ever take that away from me.

“The fans you were absolutely incredible Thursday night, you make me so proud and honoured to wear the shirt, I had a tear in my eye walking out to the sea of green, it was everything I dreamed of.

“Although it might be some time before I pull a shirt on and cross the white line again I know walking out there Thursday night will live with me forever. Thanks for all your messages.”

Team-mate Demi Vance echoed Magill’s thoughts as she told a Northern Ireland press conference: “It’s hard to find the words for it.

“There’s no right time for this injury to happen and it’s unfortunate for Simone, and us as a team, that it’s happened at a major tournament.

“We’re a big family and we’ll rally round her, and the next two games will be for her.”

Magill, the first Northern Ireland international to sign a full-time professional contract in the women’s game, helped Everton reach two FA Cup finals during a nine-year spell on Merseyside.

She switched Women’s Super League clubs after her Everton contract expired at the end of June.

“Everyone at Aston Villa extends our thoughts to Simone and wishes her the very best in her rehabilitation,” Magill’s new club said in a statement on Friday.

Northern Ireland’s next opponents are Austria, who also lost their tournament opener to hosts England.

Vance acknowledges a victory is vital for both sides if they are to keep alive their hopes of progressing from Group A, but is confident the Irish will give a better account of themselves than they did against Norway.

Northern Ireland defender Demi Vance
Northern Ireland defender Demi Vance (Liam McBurney/PA)

The defender said: “It’s a different game from Norway and we’ll go out and learn from our mistakes.

“But we’ll play with the same mentality, we’ll play high risk. That’s the way we play, and we know every game is a must-win for us and that’s what we’ll go and try and do.

“Norway was our first ever game in a major tournament so I think in the first 15-20 minutes it’s only normal that we were going to be jittery and nervous.

“But we’ve got that out of our system now and in the second half against Norway we showed that’s the kind of football we can play and we maintained that. So I think against Austria we’ll be ready from the kick-off.”

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