“I didn’t have much international experience going into the last World Cup,” says Kirby, thinking back to the summer that propelled her and England Women into the mainstream. “I probably didn’t relax and enjoy it as much as I should have, I was quite new to the team still and trying to find my feet a little bit.
“[This time] I’m just going to go out there, enjoy it, play my heart out and hopefully come away with a trophy!”
Drawing constant comparisons with six-time World Player of the Year Marta, the Chelsea striker remains humble, but has a steely determination to continue making her own name in the sport she loves.
'Nothing could compare to World Cup glory' - Fran Kirby eyes dream summer
'Nothing could compare to World Cup glory' 🏆 Fran Kirby eyes dream summer 😍 👇Posted by Goal.com on Friday, 17 May 2019
“I just want to play as well as I can. If I get the comparisons, that’s great, but I want to be Fran Kirby,” says the 2018 Ballon d’Or nominee. “That’s the most important thing. I want to make sure I’m a role model for young girls and play the best I can for my team and my country.”
Now 25, Kirby is a household name in the Women’s Super League, winning the competition twice with Chelsea since making the move from Reading in 2015.
She was named PFA and FWA Women’s Player of the Year in 2017-18 after scoring 22 goals and helping the Blues to a league-and-cup double.
An injury-hit 2018-19 has restricted her to only 14 appearances for Chelsea this season, but that hasn’t stopped her from making an impact, and she is now setting her sights on success with England in France this summer.
“It’s what every kid dreams of, winning a World Cup for your country,” she says. “There’s nothing that will ever, ever beat that or even compare to it.”
But she’s also aware of the bigger picture, the movement and momentum behind women’s football and women’s sport in 2019.
“Women’s sport is growing, becoming powerful, and we want to continue to raise that platform for the young girls at home.
“We want them to see that you can have a career [in sport] and it can be a really, really good career.”
Kirby has already enjoyed plenty of ‘really, really good’ moments in her career, with potentially the best yet to come.
Fran Kirby was speaking at Nike's Women's World Cup event in Paris.