Injured Scotland midfielder Kim Little targets 2019 World Cup

Kim Little in action for Scotland against Spain's Ruth Garcia
A serious knee injury means Kim Little will not be adding to her 121 caps until the new year

Kim Little has got over the disappointment of missing Scotland women's first major finals through injury and is looking ahead to the 2019 World Cup qualifiers instead.

The Arsenal midfielder had knee surgery two weeks ago to repair an anterior cruciate ligament injury and expects to be back playing early in 2018.

"I got a bit emotional originally but got over it quite quickly," she said.

"My thoughts are on the World Cup qualifiers that begin after the Euros."

Little made her Scotland debut in 2007 and has since gone on to win 121 caps.

Her absence, along with that of Jen Beattie, Lizzie Arnot and Emma Mitchell, will be keenly felt by head coach Anna Signeul as she prepares the Euro 2017 squad for the Netherlands finals where Scotland play England, Spain and Portugal in the group stage.

Little, who had three years at Seattle Reign before a stint at Melbourne City preceded her move to Arsenal, will be a pundit for broadcaster Channel Four at the finals.

"It was very bad timing but these things happen in sport," she said of her injury, which she sustained training with Arsenal.

"It's obviously very disappointing for me, Jen and Emma and Lizzie but we're all young and we'll be back, I'm sure.

Scotland celebrate their 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at Stark's Park
Scotland celebrate their 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at Stark's Park

"I've been very lucky not to have been on the sidelines before.

"It is nice to have a different perspective because when you're playing you are so absorbed in that.

"I'm just excited now to watch the girls who have the opportunity to play."

Little feels there is now a good mix of players in the Scotland squad.

She highlighted the veteran goalkeeper Gemma Fay, who won her 200th cap in Friday's 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland, a clutch of players in their mid- to late-20s with five years' international experience, and younger players to have emerged such as Chloe Arthur, Sophie Howard, Erin Cuthbert and Fiona Brown.

Little told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound that she will be sorry to see Signeul depart to take over the Finland women's team after the Euros but welcomes the arrival of Shelley Kerr "in the new era" as they strive to reach the World Cup in France in two years' time.

Scotland will take on Switzerland, Poland, Belarus and Albania in their qualification campaign, which runs for a year from September.

"She has been the manager for as long as I've been in the team," she said.

"Anna has improved the game a lot in Scotland, with the national academy that has been set up, and the improvement of us physically has helped us qualify for our first national tournament."

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