Centre-half’s World Cup withdrawal holds concerns for Alanna Kennedy

Centre-half’s World Cup withdrawal holds concerns for Alanna Kennedy

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Laura Alleway’s late omission from the Matildas’ Women’s World Cup squad has left the squad short of options at centre-back.

Her withdrawal due to injury leaves Ante Milicic with just two recognised centre-halves to choose from: Alanna Kennedy and Clare Polkinghorne.

It is hardly an ideal position to be in less than 48 hours out from their tournament opener against Italy.

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The Matildas’ defence has come under scrutiny in the months leading up to France following the concession of eight goals in just two friendlies against the USA and the Netherlands.

Kennedy said that while she feels no pressure off the back of those matches, she cannot help but hold some concerns over what remains.

“It’s not good to lose any player really … I don’t feel the pressure of the back line being under scrutiny, or I’m not concerned about that,” she said.

“But it’s maybe the number of players in the position. She (Alleway) is a huge loss, she’s a big part of our team. It’s a big blow.

“But I know Karly (Roestbakken, Alleway’s replacement) has done well, she had a great session yesterday and she’s earned her spot in the team.

“Though it’s sad, Karly’s going to come in and fill her role as well.”

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Veteran Lisa De Vanna was insistent the Matildas were ready for the Group C opener.

“We’ve got this mentality that we need to work on and have worked on for many years now,” she added.

“That has always been our biggest enemy, I would say but one game doesn’t dictate the tournament.

“Coming to play Italy on Sunday, we’ll show the world exactly what we’re capable of doing.”

Host nation France opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over South Korea in Paris on Friday night.

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