The Matildas' only Aston Villa player, Emily Gielnik, just finished her first season since returning to the FA Women's Super League.
Gielnik spoke to The Women's Game's Ben Gilby about what life has been like in England, the WSL and her aims for the Matildas' home World Cup.
Gielnik on life in England
- The challenges and learnings from life in England’s second city.
- How she has been able to help younger team-mates at club and country.
- What she’s looking to achieve at next year’s World Cup.
More Matildas and ParaMatildas news can be found on The Women's Game.
BG: You are at the end of your first season back in English women's club football since 2012. How different have you found the FA WSL this time round? What have been the most notable changes?
EG: The most notable changes have been the much higher consistent level of the league and quality throughout of players.
🇦🇺 𝗘𝗚𝟵 🇦🇺— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) October 13, 2021
Get to know our new striker, Emily Gielnik! 💡 pic.twitter.com/8n5XKIYKaO
BG: What's life been like at Aston Villa both on and off the pitch?
EG: On the pitch, it’s been challenging for me, as I personally feel it’s been my most unsuccessful year as a striker. However I did have some setbacks, so I’m determined for that be a main factor. Off the pitch I’ve been more quiet than usual and it’s just tough being away from home and the cold weather doesn’t help.
BG: What have been the biggest challenges this season for you personally coming into the club and team?
EG: Personally, I found it hard to get some consistency in my form and that was disappointing for me personally.
BG: What do you feel this season’s experience at Aston Villa has added to your game and yourself as a person?
EG: Going through some adversity and not being on a winning team you could say has made me more resilient and a bit more of a fighter and has forced me to bring more positive vocal energy to the team towards the tough end of the season.
Picture 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗙𝗘𝗖𝗧. 🖼ï¸ pic.twitter.com/5KcJqBa3BA— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) September 27, 2021
BG: How have you found Birmingham as a city? Matildas players are famed for their love of coffee. Have you found a go-to place in Birmingham?
EG: I like the city and the coffee isn’t too bad. ‘Medicine’ and Yorks café’ have to be my two staples to go to on a day off.
BG: You've played in many different countries. What have been the most important aspects that you've picked up from some of those locations/leagues? How have you been able to pass on some of those learnings to younger team-mates both at Villa and the Matildas?
EG: You need to learn to be adaptable, be open to change, open to challenges, and never get complacent. Most importantly, always find a positive in why you’re doing what you are doing and make the most of every single philosophy, coaching style and different training environments. It’s also important to embrace each countries culture as best as you can.
BG: You're one of a large number of Matildas playing in the FA WSL now - with COVID restrictions relaxed, has it been possible to catch up with some of your Tillies team-mates off the pitch?
EG: Yes. It has been possible and it’s nice to see the world go back to somewhat normal and allow us the freedom to play and see one another.
Emily Gielnik nets the winner âš½— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) September 27, 2021
Tameka Yallop stars on debut âš½
And of course, Sam Kerr found the back of the net âš½âš½
The Aussies just killing it in the #FAWSL.#OptusSport pic.twitter.com/BaGEU2xoTW
BG: With a home World Cup on the horizon, what do you feel that Tony Gustavsson has added to the team since he took over?
EG: He has given us more depth as a squad and more friendly matches at a high level.
BG: What would a successful World Cup look like for Emily Gielnik and the Matildas?
EG: First and foremost holding the trophy. We are a team that’s always been close, but not close enough. For me personally to be in good form so that I can do everything possible to help my team lift that trophy and at the bare minimum podium on home soil.
BG: What are the key things you personally would like to see as a post-World Cup legacy in Australia?
EG: More doors opening for young female footballers and the generation of women’s’ football enhanced to a new level.
BG: If you could sum up life at Aston Villa in three words, what would they be?
EG: Cold, unpredictable but enjoyable.
More information can be found at Cricket Australia.