As Beth Mead draws ever closer to returning to the pitch, she sat down to reflect on her recovery journey and look ahead to the upcoming season.
Flying high after England's incredible Euro 2022 campaign and earning a string of individual accolades, our number 9's blistering form was brutally interrupted when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in November 2022
"It's been nice to be back with the team playing again," said Beth, ten months on from that injury. "It has been a long old road since November when I first did my knee, so to feel a bit normal as a footballer on a pitch again has been really nice for me.
"When I got that injury, I was hoping I'd be the only one in the squad who had to go through that. To see three other players go through the same - and Teyah now as well - it's been hard to watch it happen.
"You know how it feels and you know the emotions you go through within it, but at the same time - putting a positive spin on it - it's been so nice for each other to ask each other questions. It's been important for all of us at this point that we stuck together and got each other through this tough process."
Our squad's support, paired with our winger's unwavering spirit, has meant that the conclusion of Mead's rehab has coincided with the start of the Women's Super League season.
"It's one step at a time with this injury. You get integrated into little different sections of training and now I'm back in completely.
I'm like a kid at Christmas running around and playing again! Ultimately, getting fit and getting myself in the best shape and sharpness possible for the season is my main aim."
Speaking to the media at his pre-Liverpool press conference, Jonas Eidevall shared the possibility that supporters could see Beth in action on Sunday against Liverpool: "We still have another training session to do but she's getting very, very close."
"I am chomping at the bit to get on that pitch!" Beth said. "I've worked hard to get to this point, so I can't wait for the season to get going.
"I can't wait to put that shirt back on and hopefully help Arsenal to an amazing season."
The arrival of Canadian winger Cloe Lacasse has meant that competition for Beth's spot on the right flank has increased over the summer, but it's a challenge she's ready for.
"The competitiveness has gone through the roof since we've got the depth within the squad. Cloe and I are gonna compete hard this season for the right-wing spot.
"Cloe's amazing one-on-one, she pushes me in training and I've got to be better in that sense coming back and vice versa for her. I think that's going to be a really, really good battle."
As our squad prepares to host Liverpool this weekend in front of over 50,000 supporters, Beth can't wait to be reunited with the faithful crowd at Emirates Stadium.
"At the moment, we are setting the standard for fans and the number of people coming to games. It's increasingly hard for us to go around and thank every single fan now because there are so many of them!
"But I think the Gooners' support has been incredible and we really appreciated that amazing atmosphere throughout last season. Hopefully, we can do the same this season and even do a little bit better."
Click the play button above to hear the full interview with Beth.
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