Republic of Ireland captain Katie McCabe has offered her backing to Arsenal team-mate and England star Beth Mead after an ACL injury left her World Cup dreams hanging by a thread.

Mead ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The player of the tournament after England's Euro 2022 triumph and Ballon d'Or runner-up behind Spain's Alexia Putellas, Mead is the latest in a long list of leading women's players to suffer a long-term injury.

Two of McCabe's compatriots, Jess Ziu and Ellen Molloy, are both out of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand having recently sustained the dreaded ACL injury while a third, Savannah McCarthy, is continuing to rehabilitate after suffering a similar fate last March.

McCabe agreed that Mead was a "massive loss" for Arsenal.

"For us as a team, she's going to be a massive loss, but we've got a fantastic medical team around the club and they'll be doing their utmost to try and get her back," the Dubliner said.

"But yeah, massive loss. We're devastated for her, but she's got great support in our team and we'll be rallying round her for sure."

Beth Mead is a key player for club and country

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall believes the heavy fixture schedule could be putting top players at greater risk of injury.

Eidevall will be without half-a-dozen key players for Thursday's Champions League group game in Turin against Juventus.

When asked if player fatigue had been a factor in Mead's setback, Eidevall said: "It's hard to answer of course because you don't know all the variables.

"Player loading and fatigue is obviously something we constantly monitor and we're concerned about it.

"So if that had been a factor, it would have been obvious to us leading up to this game and then we wouldn't have played her.

"But it can still happen, which makes it so difficult. When you see the amount of injuries, yes I think the schedule of games, especially for players playing in tournaments, it doesn't help with the injury situation."

The Gunners' 14-match winning run in the Women's Super League was halted by United on Saturday and Eidevall's side are bidding to bounce back against Juventus.

Former Arsenal coach Joe Montemurro is now in charge of the Turin giants, who sit two points behind the Londoners in the Group C table.

Eidevall added: "They're a very competitive team. I think Juventus as a club in the Women's Champions League have shown that consistently over the last few seasons.

"They can compete with any team in Europe and have been doing it very well, so we have a lot of respect for them.

"We understand and we're fully aware of that."

Additional reporting: PA

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