Westfield Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond says Australia are starting to reap the rewards from exposing some of the team’s key players to international football at a young age.
YOUTHFUL MATILDAS THRIVING
Having made her international debut at 17, van Egmond, now 24, is one of the more experienced faces in the Matildas squad having made 63 appearances for the national team.
But she’s not alone.
Superstar attacker Sam Kerr (55 appearances) earned her senior debut at just 15, while Caitlin Foord (58 appearances) scored on her full debut against New Zealand as a 16-year-old.
Fullback Steph Catley (62 appearances) also debuted at just 18 in 2012, while more recently Ellie Carpenter was capped as a 16-year-old in 2016.
Alanna Kennedy (22) has 57 appearances for the Matildas while Tameka Butt (26) and Elise Kellond-Knight (27) have 61 and 85 caps respectively.
And it’s that experience which van Egmond believes the Matildas are starting to profit from.
“We’re very fortunate because we’re still quite a young team,” van Egmond told Matildas.footballaustralia.com.au .
“Tom Sermanni (former Matildas coach) brought a group of us through at a young age to get that experience. We’re now at 23-24 and I think we’re starting to mature a lot and you’re starting to see that.
“What Staj (Alen Stajcic) has implemented within the group has been fantastic as well. The way he wants to play and the exciting brand of football that we’re showcasing.”
ROOM TO IMPROVE
Australia are ranked number six in the world and have now won five straight following their Tournament of Nations triumph last month and a clean sweep of Brazil on home soil.
But midfielder Chloe Logarzo admitted there’s still improvement left in the Matildas and insists coach Alen Stajcic won’t be resting on his side’s recent success.
“There’s always room to grow, even if you’re on top,” Logarzo said.
“Staj, I learn a lot from him. He’s a guy that always wants to keep moving forward.
“Even if we are the best in the world, there’s always something to tweak and that’s a great mentality to have.
“But of course we want to keep going until we hit number one. And it’s not even about hitting number one. It’s about being consistent and plateauing and making sure we can be the best that we can be.”