Perth Glory Women duo Alanna Kennedy and Caitlin Foord have been named in the Westfield Matildas 24-player squad ahead of the International Tri-Series in Auckland.
Courtesy Football Federation Australia
Kate Gill and Samantha Kerr have been ruled out due to knee injuries but are still in contention for places in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.
There are 16 players from last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign, including current Asian Player of the Year Katrina Gorry, while Larissa Crummer, 16 year old Alex Chidiac and Amy Harrison are three new players in the squad, the trio having impressed at the training camps Stajcic has held in the lead up to these matches.
“Alex Chidiac has done really well. She’s a youngster who has impressed at camp so it will be a good opportunity for her to gain some experience and come on a tour with the national team,” said Stajcic.
Midfielders Kyah Simon and Aivi Luik are two players who are back in calculation after overcoming injuries. In contrast, there are some notable absentees that could not be considered because of injury.
“There are a few girls returning from injury and a few girls that are currently injured as well such as Ellie Brush, Kate Gill, Sam Kerr, Lydia Williams and Tameka Butt so there are a number of girls still in contention,” said Stajcic.
“These two matches are the first step in the process and it’s going to be an excellent examination on how our players are travelling and how they can step up to that level.
“We’ll certainly be using these two games to test some players that either haven’t played for a while or are just reemerging back into the national team so we want to see if they’re capable at that level.”
Seen as an important part of the Westfield Matildas’ preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada, Stajcic believes the chance to face a DPR Korea side that is currently ranked 7th in the FIFA world rankings as well as the 18th ranked Football Ferns will provide a fitting gauge to the progress made in the past month.
“We’ve had three camps and the team has progressed really well on and off the field,” said Stajcic.
“Obviously it will be a big test to jump straight back into international football after that little period, especially DPR Korea who are one of the best teams in the world, but we think we’re tracking well and this will be a good challenge for us.”
“We’ve been working on styles of play and team structures so while the results are important, at the moment we’re more focused on implementing our style of play and what we want to achieve at the World Cup, so this is just the first building block on the way to the World Cup and making sure we’re perfecting it come June.”
The squad will depart from Sydney on Saturday 7 February ahead of its first match against DPR Korea on Tuesday 10 February.