Fran Kirby spoke to ex-England defender Alex Scott via Instagram on Monday evening and the Chelsea FC Women forward says she is ‘in a better place’ since being diagnosed with a medical condition called pericarditis in November.

Kirby’s illness, which is uncommon in athletes, is inflammation of the pericardium (the fluid-filled sac that surrounds the heart) and it has kept the 26-year-old out of the squad since mid-November.Pericarditis is typically caused by a viral infection and manifests with symptoms including sudden onset of sharp chest pain, fever, nausea, shortness of breath and weakness. Usually people who contract the illness recover quickly, but for others, like Kirby, it can take months.Kirby revealed to more than 1,200 live viewers last night that she is feeling more positive about her recovery and said: ‘Nothing can prepare you for a completely random illness, a bit like when you are going through something that causes you some sort of depression, you’re not ready for it.‘But I’m in a much better place than I was a few months ago, I’m able to do very low exercise and I’m building up week-by-week.‘I've managed to do a few sessions of training [prior to the coronavirus lockdown]. But sometimes I’ll do something and have a setback, everything I do has to be symptom-free.

Kirby opened up about how the condition had affected her mental health – resulting in her questioning whether she would be able to overcome this setback and return to football. Now the England international is feeling more hopeful for the future.‘I got to the stage where I felt like I didn't know how it was to feel normal. I remember having numerous conversations and saying, I just can't do this anymore, I can’t feel this poorly or go back and deal with another injury that is going to put me out.‘I’m always thinking now what’s next? What is the thing that is going to stop me? In the last few weeks that's changed, obviously, my mindset has changed because I’m feeling better.‘I've probably nearly called Emma Hayes and Phil Neville so many times to say: “I'm done, I’m not playing anymore.”‘For me I just want to give everything that I can to see how good I can be. I’ve been through the injuries, I’ve been through the illness, if I go from now to the Olympics and give absolutely everything for every single day for the rest of this year, how good can I be? And that’s my goal right now.'

Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger has been nominated for the German Football Ambassador public award.

The German Football Ambassador award is a social football project that recognises the efforts of German football coaches and players who use the sport as a vehicle for effecting positive development abroad.

To vote for Berger, click here!