Impetus welcomes Martin Townley who will be covering Welsh women’s football at both club and international levels for us. He was in Wales’ media conference yesterday to hear from Rhiannon Roberts ahead of the game against New Zealand in Spain (25/6/22).
Above: Rhiannon Roberts in yesterday’s media conference. Photo: FAW.
After a fantastic season with Liverpool, Rhiannon Roberts is with the Wales national team for a friendly against New Zealand. The match, which will be Wales’s final preparations before the final World Cup Qualifiers in September, will take place on Tuesday 28th June in Pinatar, Spain.
Roberts was part of the Liverpool team that won the FA Women’s Championship this season and she reflected with the media about what an amazing season it had been.
“Yeah, it was unbelievable. It was a great season, you know, Matt (Beard) came in and he’s brought in good people staff, and players, and we’ve gelled well. It’s just such a cool group of players to be in. I think that’s what got us on the over the line.
“It was just a fantastic season, winning the league obviously, with the players that we’ve got, it’s just brilliant. You know, it’s nice to win the league, but winning with a good group of people as well is even better.”
The training camp and match with New Zealand will be the last camp before Wales head into two vital World Cup qualifying matches against Greece and Slovenia. Winning both would see the Welsh team make the World Cup play-offs for the first time. Roberts believes that this is a great chance for the squad to work on areas they need to improve on.
“It just gives us a chance to improve on certain points that we want to work on. And obviously, get together as a group. Otherwise, it’d be a large gap without seeing everyone.
“I think there’s always excitement for every camp that we come on, to be honest. So, I don’t think that really changes so much. The environment stays the same. And then it’s just the fact of taking one game at a time. And yeah, hopefully we can get to the next level. But yeah, it just one game at a time.”
Wales beat New Zealand 1-0 when the sides last met in Cardiff, but the Football Ferns higher ranking will provide a good test for Gemma Grainger’s side.
“It just gives us a chance to prove ourselves against a higher-ranked opponent. And yeah, just work on things that we need to work on. We want to compete against the higher nations. So, it’s just another test for us. And hopefully, we can give them a good run.”
Before the World Cup Qualifiers, the Euros will take place across July, Wales narrowly missed out on a play-off place and Roberts believes it will drive on the Welsh players.
“I think he just gives you an odd drive to go and achieve in the next tournament and better yourself. Just do better than you did in the last game all the time. It’s a tough one obviously to watch. It’s tough, but you know, at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do about it that, it’s out of your control now. So, our focus is the next one. And hopefully qualifying for a World Cup.”
Roberts is joined in Spain by Helen Ward, and she opened up on how the two have helped each other keep going over the years.
“She has helped me settle in this team so well, we are stuck at the hip a little bit. She’s just a warming person. She’s just a comfortable person to be around. We just help each other mentally. And, yeah, I tried to keep her going for the last couple years, to be honest. I certainly can’t change my roommate; I can’t do it to myself. But yeah, she’s just a great person to be around.
“She’s, like the mother of a group, the person everyone turns to, and everyone goes to and that you can rely on. So, she’s just an all-around great person to be honest.”
Martin Townley‘s writer biography can be seen along with those of our other contributors here: https://impetusfootball.org/about-our-contributors/