Matildas star Carpenter back after eight months out

Ellie Carpenter, one of the Matildas' key players with the World Cup in sight, has made a timely return to action with Lyon after an eight-month injury lay-off.

Matildas star Ellie Carpenter has made a "proud" return to football after more than eight months away with injury, declaring that she's grateful to be back in business with the World Cup looming.

The fullback, one of Australia's key players, came on as a second-half substitute in Lyon's victory at Rodez in the French league on Saturday, playing half an hour in her first match since a serious knee injury suffered in last season's Women's Champions League final.

Though the 22-year-old will take time to get back to her formidable best, the sight of Carpenter getting applauded as she came on for a gentle cameo with the league leaders 5-0 ahead can only have warmed Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson.

With six months to go before a home World Cup, it's always been the Cowra, NSW player's ambition to get back for a key role on the biggest stage of all.

A few days ago, she greeted the news that Stadium Australia would host the Cup's opening game in July with the comment: "This is amazing."

"Very proud and grateful to be back," said Carpenter on Saturday in a Twitter post after her comeback game.

"I have learned a lot during these months about myself. The ones who have been there since day 1. Thank you, my support system has been second to none.

"Would not be here without you guys. I'm just getting started."

It has been a long road back for Carpenter since she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on a bittersweet night in Turin last May.

Considered one of Lyon's best players all season and starting in the biggest club game in women's soccer, her night lasted only 13 minutes as she went down, clutching the inside of her left knee after pushing off for a sprint.

She went off in tears on a stretcher but later joined her teammates in celebrating her team's 3-1 win over the then holders Barcelona.