Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic included a strong youth contingent in his 18-player Matildas squad for upcoming friendlies against France and England on Tuesday afternoon.
Uncapped 18-year-old Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Jada Whyman, 18-year-old Princess Ibini, 16-year-old Amy Sayer and 15-year-old Mary Fowler were will all travel to Europe with Stajic’s squad, with all looming as likely to see the pitch in some capacity during the two fixtures.
A star at a junior representative level, Sydney FC’s Ibini has made three previous appearances for Australia’s senior women, while Sydney FC’s Sayer and the uncontracted Fowler both made their international debuts in Australia’s recent Tournament of Nations campaign.
Balancing out the youth injected into the squad is the presence of veterans such Lisa De Vanna, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne and Elise Kellond-Knight; Kellond-Knight able to become just the seventh woman in Australian history to earn 100 caps for her nation should she feature in both upcoming friendlies.
With marquee names such as Sam Kerr, Alanna Kennedy and Lydia Williams not named as part of the squad, Stajcic said that the upcoming friendlies and accompanying training camp will provide Australia’s next generation of Matildas a valuable learning experience.
“I am excited by the opportunity we have to develop the depth within our team during next month’s camp,” Stajcic said following the squad’s announcement.
“(I) am confident that this squad has the ability to challenge France in Saint-Etienne, and the Lionesses in London
“With some established Matildas not available for selection, our October matches will give us a great opportunity to test other players in what will be a challenging environment.
“Our next camp will also give the players, as well as our staff, the opportunity to prepare for various situations and challenges that may arise during next year’s World Cup.
“October represents an important period for the Westfield Matildas as we continue our progress towards next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as November’s home matches against Chile in Penrith and Newcastle.”
The Matildas will meet European powerhouses France at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne on 5 October (Early 6 October Australian time) before crossing the channel to meet the Lionesses of England at London’s Craven Cottage on 9 October (Early 10 October Australian time).
The Matildas will then continue their preparations for next year’s World Cup with two friendlies against Chile in Australia; in Penrith on 10 November and Newcastle on 13 November.
The Matildas 18-player squad
|Name||Current Club, Country||A-International Caps (Goals)|
|Mackenzie ARNOLD (Gk)||Arna-Bjørnar Fotball, Norway||19 (0)|
|Tameka BUTT||Klepp IL, Norway||70 (10)|
|Ellie CARPENTER||Portland Thorns, USA||24 (1)|
|Steph CATLEY||Melbourne City FC, Australia||67 (2)|
|Alex CHIDIAC||Atletico Madrid, Spain||12 (1)|
|Larissa CRUMMER||Newcastle Jets, Australia||21 (4)|
|Lisa DE VANNA||Sydney FC, Australia||140 (45)|
|Caitlin FOORD||Sydney FC, Australia||63 (11)|
|Mary FOWLER||Uncontracted||1 (0)|
|Emily GIELNIK||Melbourne Victory, Australia||20 (4)|
|Princess IBINI||Sydney FC, Australia||3 (0)|
|Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT||Hammarby IF, Sweden||98 (1)|
|Chloe LOGARZO||Sydney FC, Australia||33 (5)|
|Aivi LUIK||Levante UD, Spain||18 (0)|
|Jada WHYMAN (Gk)||Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia||0 (0)|
|Clare POLKINGHORNE||Houston Dash FC, USA||108 (8)|
|Amy SAYER||Sydney FC, Australia||1 (0)|
|Kyah SIMON||Melbourne City FC, Australia||86 (22)|