After months spent on the sidelines, Vivianne Miedema is making steady but sure progress back to the football pitch.
The Dutch international was stretchered off during our home fixture against Olympique Lyonnais back in December, with the injury later revealed to be an ACL tear.
Speaking with the BBC at half-time during our clash with Manchester City, Miedema discussed her recovery from the long-term injury setback and the prospect of our women's side playing more and more games at Emirates Stadium.
"It’s difficult to see the team doing well because I want to be out there, but I’ve been in the gym a lot and picking up a few things off-site too, not just football things," said Miedema. "It’s about trying to get back as quickly as I can but also trying to enjoy the time of not having to play all the time.
"It’s going good. It’s really slow but I’m taking little steps. Obviously, I miss being out on the pitch with my teammates but at least I’m here to support them at games."
When asked about whether there was any chance she would recover from her ACL injury in time to join the Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup this summer, Miedema was sadly definitive.
"No hope. I’m definitely going to miss the World Cup which is a hard one, but I’m hoping to be back for the beginning of next season. That’s my focus right now - I need to be realistic."
In a miserable one-two punch of injuries, Beth Mead suffered an ACL rupture mere weeks before Miedema. Our star forwards then embarked on the hard road to recovery side by side.
"Beth is a bit in front of me, but I think you’ve seen what Sarina said last week: it will need a miracle for her to be fit for the World Cup. But we’re both just working as hard as we can and we will see how close we can get.
"I know what she’s feeling and she knows what I’m feeling. It’s frustrating for me because I’m a month behind so I see her doing a lot of things and I’m not there yet, but it’s very helpful and we want to push each other as much as possible, especially when we’re back on the pitch."
Alongside Mead, Miedema was in attendance for our UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich and she was impressed by both the performance and the atmosphere generated by the supporters.
"The atmosphere was amazing. We played so well: Bayern didn’t have any chances and we could have won five or six nil. Frida’s goal was amazing - everything about it including that flick from Leah. It’s also great to see Stina amongst the goals because it’s what we need."
Over 20,000 people were in attendance at Emirates Stadium for the European clash, which marked the seventh fixture for our women's side at the stadium this season. We're already on course to vastly exceed that figure for the next leg against Wolfsburg and you can purchase your tickets for the home tie now.
"We’re one of the examples for clubs because we’re doing it well. We play a lot of games there and we get a lot of people in. I think we need to keep pushing for it and we deserve it.
"People always say it’s the men’s stadium, but in the end, it’s the club’s stadium. We should use that and all push for it in that sense."
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