As the dust settles on the announcement of the Matildas World Cup squad, Canberra United coach Heather Garriock lent her expertise to discuss her thoughts on the selections.
We did have Canberra United defender Ellie Carpenter make the squad. It's quite weird seeing that she's making her first World Cup squad despite around the team for such a long time already.
When she got selected for Rio, I think it was similar to a Mary Fowler situation that she's a dynamic and X-Factor player who's included and I think Ellie's just progressed with leaps and bounds for her as a player and she's a really experienced player now. So yeah, a World Cup to have that feather in the cap as well, I think she's going to be a real weapon on that right-hand side, especially in attack.
Having Ellie in your W-League side, seeing that growth over the past few seasons? What's that been like?
Total Transformation. You've got a young kid that I met several years ago that just come back from the Rio Olympics that was trying to find herself as a person and the way she's grown into herself as a player. I think she's still finding herself off the field but I think what she's achieved within the last couple of years is such a great achievement and just transformation from a technical sense.
I think, and hope, her progression and making that right back spot her own is a credit to her determination and dedication on her wanting to be the best right back in the world.
There are a few experienced players going including Lydia Williams and Clare Polkinghorne, but most importantly, we have Lisa De Vanna who is going to make her fourth World Cup appearance hopefully.
Lisa is a crucial player in this team. Not only on the field but off it as well. Obviously, we score many, many crucial goals even in the goal against America. That was a class act. But off the field as well hopefully she can play a role in and amongst the team, especially with some of the younger ones that she's been training with the Future Materials program, just to be able to be that leader off the field. So it's a credit to her.
Looking at the players who have made you see Haley Raso, who overcame a back injury but you also see Amy Harrison, who's also come back from a serious injury. How exciting is it to give them that call-up, after everything they've gone through.
Amy Harrison is very close to my heart. I coached her as an eight-year-old when she came into my football academy. And she's basically following the footsteps of me, she's a dear friend. Back in 2007, she came to watch me play at the World Cup in China.
So to see her overcome adversity and be part of this World Cup squad. It just makes me so proud. And I'm hearing from her to say that she made the squad it was such a beautiful feeling because she's worked so bloody hard for it.
From your experience, what are you most excited about for this squad?
I'm most excited because I think we've got the quality to go all the way in this particular tournament. I'm most excited that we've got some players that can play a crucial part in big moments of the World Cup. So that makes me really excited.
You do have Sam [Kerr] leading the squad after her announcement as captain earlier this year. How much of a role does she play in leading the squad and the amount of pressure that's on her to perform at this level?
I don't think the pressure is a problem because she's been under pressure to constantly produce goals and she's done it so well over the past couple of years.
So I think the pressure won't get to it's more her bringing the team together and really excelling and uniting together as a team, especially when things don't go well. I think that's the key to a great leader. It'll be great to see how she performs.
A lot of these players, as you said have been together for quite a while. Do you think that's a benefit for the squad going into France?
Most definitely, to know players inside out and know what their strengths and weaknesses are and be able to link up and play together for many years. I think that's such a massive strength and that's a key strength of Australia going into this tournament.
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