England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has withdrawn from the Great Britain squad for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics due to injury.
The 36-year-old Manchester City player, one of two shot-stoppers in Hege Riise’s 18-player group for the Games, was hurt while playing on loan at OL Reign last month.
Bardsley told englandfootball.com: “After a difficult road back to fitness and form, being selected for Tokyo felt like the greatest achievement.
“Then, to be forced to withdraw through injury so close to the Games feels devastatingly cruel. Regardless of the situation, I’ll do whatever I can to help my team-mates and Team GB every step along the way. I wish nothing but success for everyone.”
Bardsley has a wealth of experience, having played in World Cups with England and the 2012 London Olympics for Great Britain.
GB head coach Riise added: “Losing Karen is a big blow for us – but more importantly for her.
“She’s been an incredible international goalkeeper for many years and her presence in the squad would have also helped the younger players in the group.
“Of course, this is football and this means an opportunity for someone else to take. The group are very positive about the challenge ahead and can’t wait to get started.”
Great Britain will make a decision on Bardsley’s replacement in due course.