Matildas Asia Cup Training Squad Announced

By Ben Gilby (8/1/22).

Above: Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson, who today unveiled his training squad for the Asia Cup. Photo: Football Australia.

Tony Gustavsson has announced 25 players who will depart for the Matildas pre-Asia Cup training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

21 of the players have received final selection for the tournament, with four of domestically based stars from the A-League Women included for training which will commence on Monday.

The Melbourne City pair, Winonah Heatley and Holly McNamara are joined by Sydney FC’s Cortnee Vine and Karly Roestbakken of Canberra United, with two of these players eventually being added to the final squad to make up Gustavsson’s 23 players for the tournament which kicks off for Australia on January 21 when they face Indonesia in Mumbai.

Sam Kerr will captain a squad that contains 36-year-old defender Aivi Luik who had announced her retirement from international football back in August.

Potency upfront from Kerr, Siemsen, Emily Gielnik, Kyah Simon, Caitlin Foord reflects Australia’s strength in depth in this position.

Artwork: AFC

The midfield selections caught the eye for different reasons though, with only four players listed in that position – Kyra Cooney Cross, Emily van Egmond, Clare Wheeler, and Tameka Yallop. Consequently, Mary Fowler, who Gustavsson has praised in recent press conferences for her ability to perform to a high level in several different positions, may be asked to play a little bit deeper.

The average age (26.6) of the 21 players with guaranteed selection is older than in Australia’s past seven World Cup campaigns, with the average number of caps held among this group, 59, standing higher than in any of the Matildas’s previous Asia Cup campaigns.

As he shared his squad with the media earlier today, the Matildas head coach said: “We considered a lot of factors and reflected on the experience of the Tokyo Olympics in assembling this roster.

“It was important that, with the initial 21 players selected, we found the balance between players that have been the backbone of the national team for the past decade and providing experience to a new group of players with the World Cup next year in mind.

“Having the right mix of skills to win matches is paired with the right experience on the training park and in the dressing room. Over the past six months, we have worked to examine the talent pool extensively and we think we have found that balance with this squad.” 

Gustavsson also explained the thinking behind taking four additional players to the training camp before whittling his squad down to the final 23.

“With additional time before we arrive in India, we wanted to ensure players have every single moment available to them to make their case to be a part of the Asian Cup.”

Australia’s Pre-Asia Cup Training Squad:

Players in italic are part of the travelling group for the pre-tournament training camp with two of these players to be selected for the final squad.

Name Position Club Caps (goals) 
Mackenzie ARNOLD Goalkeeper West Ham United 27 (0) 
Ellie CARPENTER Back Lyon 54 (1) 
Steph CATLEY Back Arsenal WFC 96 (3) 
Kyra COONEY-CROSS Midfielder Melbourne Victory 14 (0) 
Caitlin FOORD Forward Arsenal WFC 95 (21) 
Mary FOWLER Forward Montpellier 20 (5) 
Emily GIELNIK Forward Aston Villa 50 (11) 
Charlotte GRANT Back FC Rosengård 3 (0) 
Winonah HEATLEY* Back Melbourne City 0 (0) 
Alanna KENNEDY Back Manchester City 102 (8) 
Sam KERR Forward Chelsea  104 (49) 
Aivi LUIK Back Pomigliano 33 (0) 
Holly McNAMARA* Forward Melbourne City 0 (0) 
Teagan MICAH Goalkeeper FC Rosengård 8 (0) 
Courtney NEVIN Back Melbourne Victory 7 (0) 
Clare POLKINGHORNE Back Vittsjö GIK 138 (12) 
Hayley RASO Forward Manchester City 58 (6) 
Karly ROESTBAKKEN* Back Canberra United (on loan) 7 (0) 
Remy SIEMSEN Forward Sydney FC 2 (0) 
Kyah SIMON Forward Tottenham Hotspur 105 (27) 
Emily VAN EGMOND Midfielder Newcastle Jets (on loan)  112 (23) 
Cortnee VINE* Forward Sydney FC 0 (0) 
Clare WHEELER Midfielder Fortuna Hjørring 5 (0) 
Lydia WILLIAMS Goalkeeper Arsenal WFC 95 (0) 
Tameka YALLOP Midfielder West Ham United 101 (11) 

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