Ben Gilby was in The Matildas’ media conference with Hayley Raso today and heard the winger emphasise that whilst she isn’t getting the minutes she’d like at Manchester City, she is more than ready to perform for her country against Scotland and England (5/4/23).
Above: Hayley Raso in action for Australia against South Africa in October. Photo: Justine Burch for Impetus.
Australia winger Hayley Raso told the media today that she is ready to use her skill to “turn games” this international window as The Matildas prepare to face Scotland and England.
“I’m at one of the best squads in the world. The training and facilities I am involved in are top. I’m sharp and firing, and ready to go. I’m not getting as many minutes as I’d like at my club, but I’m here to represent my country, I’m in good form.
“I am a confidence player, I feel like I have been performing well in our recent games, so it’s nice to have that when I can come and turn a game, that’s just the way I play.”
Raso knows her team, on a run of five successive wins, face a stern test over the coming week. “Two really good games, two really tough opposition, it will prepare us for the World Cup,” she said.
First up for Australia is Good Friday’s clash with Scotland at AFC Wimbledon’s Plough Lane stadium – a venue that Raso has fond memories of having been in the Manchester City team that won the Conti Cup there last season, defeating Matildas team-mate Sam Kerr’s Chelsea.
“It’s a really nice stadium, I’m really looking forward to play there with my national team, and it will be great to be back there,” Raso enthused.
Whilst Scotland have not qualified for the World Cup this time round, the Brisbane-born star knows that they have more than enough star quality in their side, notably Caroline Weir – a player that Raso admired greatly during their time together at Manchester City before Weir’s departure to Real Madrid.
“I was speaking about her with some of the (Matildas) girls earlier. I was saying that she is one of the best players that I have trained with. She is an amazing footballer, technically so good. She’s doing really well there. She seems to be loving her time there. I think she’s scored a number of goals already. Whatever team she plays for, you see how a big player she is.”
With Friday’s match officially a home game for Australia, Raso is looking forward to having a large number of UK-based Australian fans clad in green and gold to cheer the Matildas on.
“We hope there will be a big contingent of Aussies coming out to support us. Being away from home, it will be great to have such a big support for us.”
With these two matches over the coming week forming one of the last chances for Australia to prepare for their home World Cup this July and August, the winger reflected on the journey that the Matildas have been on since Tony Gustavsson took over as head coach.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, we’ve been preparing for a long time now, through various ebbs and flows. We had a great tournament when he first came in during the Olympics. We’re coming into form now.”