Megan Bell’s Women’s Euro 2022 dreams have been crushed by yet another injury blow.
The Rangers Women midfielder is no longer in the running to be in Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland squad for the tournament, having been ruled out after needing to undergo surgery on a hamstring problem.
The news of Bell’s injury blow comes just days after it emerged that captain Marissa Callaghan’s participation in the Euro Finals is in doubt after she sustained a toe injury which has put her out of the remaining Premiership games before the break for the tournament.
There are now also concerns surrounding Callaghan’s Cliftonville Ladies team-mate Danielle Maxwell, who too is now walking with the aid of crutches.
It is only within the last four months that Bell has returned to the international fold after a gap of over two years since winning her last cap in a qualifier against Wales in November 2019.
She battled back from an 18-month-long nightmare due to a stress fracture in her leg sustained in the spring of 2020 to return to club football at Rangers late last year, with the 20-year-old using the Euro Finals as her motivation during the dark days of her rehab.
Now, however, her hopes of playing against Norway, Austria and England in Southampton in July are over.
The hamstring injury was suffered four weeks ago, 10 minutes into a Scottish Women’s Premiership game against Motherwell.
The extent of the problem emerged later on when scans revealed that the muscle damage was severe enough to require surgery and that immediately ruled her out of representing Northern Ireland on the big stage.
Bell also missed out on a big moment with her club when the injury meant she had to watch Rangers’ League title-winning game against Glasgow City from the sidelines.
While the first game of the tournament is now less than six weeks away, there is optimism in the camp that there is sufficient time for Callaghan to be fully fit to face Norway on July 7, but Bell will now be confined to the stands, like she was for the final qualifiers and the history-making Play-Off victory over Ukraine in April last year.