Sam Kerr will lead the line for the Matildas’ World Cup tilt in France. (AAP: Darren Pateman)
The Matildas have named their Women’s World Cup squad, with Australia naming 16-year-old Mary Fowler as a bolter selection.
- Kyah Simon, a veteran of two World Cups, only listed as a stand-by player for the 23-player squad
- Squad includes usual leading lights Sam Kerr and Lisa de Vanna, but also 16-year-old Mary Fowler
- Katrina Gorry, Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison all make the cut despite recent lack of game time
Fowler is among the 23 players — including star forward Sam Kerr — who will depart for the showpiece event in France.
Matildas coach Ante Milicic said he had one eye on the future with Fowler’s selection.
“I was quite pleased with the way she was with the group in the [United] States most recently,” Milicic said.
“She’s a different type of player to Sam [Kerr], and I just think in our environment with the players we have around us she’s going to learn a lot.
“She’s definitely going to add and contribute to the group.”
Matildas’ World Cup squad:
- Lydia Williams, Gema Simon, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne, Laura Alleway, Chloe Logarzo, Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord, Emily van Egmond, Lisa de Vanna, Teagan Micah, Tameka Yallop, Alanna Kennedy, Emily Gielnik, Hayley Raso, Mary Fowler, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Amy Harrison, Teigen Allen
But Fowler’s selection comes at the cost of Kyah Simon, a veteran of two World Cups, who missed selection in the 23-player list.
However, Simon will be kept on standby for the tournament, as well as Kyra Cooney-Cross.
Mary Fowler has been included in the squad as coach Ante Milicic casts an eye to the future. (FFA)
Simon lost out due to a struggle to prove her fitness following a severe ankle injury, and endured another setback last month while on club duty in the United States.
“Kyah is a fantastic footballer, make no mistake, she’s got a lot of experience,” Milicic said.
“When I’ve been following her … her football she’s played in both club land and in international football, particularly in the last 18 months, it has dropped off a bit.
“She did come off the bench against North Carolina a few weeks ago … but she just didn’t pull up as well as she would have liked.”
Kyah Simon (far right) has only been listed as a stand-by player for the World Cup squad. (AP: Annie Rice)
Despite a lack of football of late, Katrina Gorry, Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison all made the cut.
Milicic suggested the chance to contend for the trophy was front of his mind while making his selections.
“We will have genuine competition for starting positions across all areas of the pitch,” he said.
“This is a special group of Australian footballers because, as a unit, they have accumulated a wealth of international experience despite the average age of the team being quite young.
“Having players that have appeared at multiple FIFA Women’s World Cups in our squad will help to guide the eight players traveling to their first Women’s World Cup.”
Chloe Logarzo (centre) has made the cut despite a lack of game time, as has Lisa de Vanna (left). (AP: Jessica Hill)
Milicic saved special praise for Australia’s three veterans who will be appearing at their fourth event.
“I don’t like to single out individuals, however I would like to congratulate Lisa [de Vanna], Clare [Polkinghorne], and Lydia [Williams] for earning selection in their fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup squads.”
The feat of longevity has been achieved by just two Socceroos: Tim Cahill and Mark Milligan.
The Matildas will gather this weekend at the same site of the Socceroos’ pre-World Cup warm-up camp in Antalya, Turkey, to begin their preparations for the tournament.
The Matildas play European champions the Netherlands on June 1 in a warm-up match, before Australia faces Italy in its first World Cup match on the evening of June 9.
The group stage clashes continue against Brazil on June 14 and Jamaica on June 19.