W-League stars called up for national duty in "fresh start" for Commonwealth Bank Matildas
IT'S been labelled a "fresh start" for the Commonwealth Bank Matildas by head coach Tony Gustavsson: a chance to foster developing Australian talent ahead of a raft of major tournaments in the coming years.
And as Gustavsson prepare for a friendly fixture against Republic of Ireland on September 22, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas boss has unveiled his 25-player squad which will take the first steps into a new cycle as the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ and the Paris 2024 Games await in an eagerly-anticipated future.
13 of Gustavsson's 25-player squad featured in the W-League in 2020/21, including some fresh faces eager to make their mark on national duty with the senior side for the very first time.
Sydney FC striker Remy Siemsen is one of four players excited by their maiden Commonwealth Bank Matildas call-up, joining Melbourne Victory's Championship-winning captain from 2020/21 Angela Beard on the plane to Dublin.
Winonah Heatley and Jamilla Rankin both impressed at Brisbane Roar last season, catching the eye of Tony Gustavsson and earning their first taste of senior Commonwealth Bank Matildas action in the first national camp post-Tokyo 2020.
Joining the four newcomers in the squad are Melbourne City defender Emma Checker and her 2020/21 City teammate Jenna McCormick, who are recalled to the national setup, while Victory midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross will look to continue her rapid rise to international prominence by impressing once more at the upcoming camp.
Gustavsson outlined his hopes for the future ahead of September's training camp and friendly fixture, stating there's a feeling of unfinished business amongst the group after a fourth-place finish at the recent Olympic Games.
“While there were many aspects of our Tokyo campaign that we were proud of, I share the strong sentiment of the playing group that there is still unfinished business,” Gustavsson said.
"It is what makes our whole team extremely motivated and energised for the next phase of this journey towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™.
"We have analysed our performances and have some great insights for us to work with.
“However, as we keep working to improve all areas of our game, we will ensure that our aggressive pressing game and our attacking mindset will always remain at the heart of who we are.”
“The next phase presents a fresh start for all players – whether they are plying their trade in Australia, Europe, Asia, the United States or elsewhere," Gustavsson added.
"We have a long runway to 2023 and we want to utilise every camp, every match, every moment possible to become one day better.
“We have previously stated the importance of presenting players with opportunities to experience the national team environment and, with our scouting network, we will look to continue to do so in a measured manner.”