Former Matildas midfielder Joanne Peters believes “we are not doing the right thing” by Mary Fowler integrating her into the Matildas squad at 15.
Peters was vocal in her concern for Fowler, who has been predicted to surpass Samantha Kerr by some commentators, but says introducing her into “unknown territory” at the professional level.
“When we’re talking 15 we’re talking kids, there’s a big difference between a 15 and 18-year-old,” Peters said.
“This is where it starts getting serious about the welfare of kids.”
Fowler’s performance over the Matildas’ two friendlies was one of the rare positives to emerge with the squad being largely outplayed by France and England.
Born in Cairns to an Irish father and a Papa New-Guinean mother, Fowler caught the attention of the Irish FA as well as the FFA with the latter jumping at the opportunity to cap her as soon as possible.
She debuted at the tournament of nations at 15 the same age as Samantha Kerr who despite being recognised as one of the world’s best has fallen victim to injury.
This is something Peters fears may happen to Fowler to significant degrees if not properly managed.
“There’s no doubt she’s going to be the best in the world but are we going to protect her?” Peters said.
“The Tiger Woods’ and Serena Williams’ did not have a childhood and unfortunately I see the same in Mary Fowler.”
Further, Peters highlighted how “gruelling” the schedule for the players is, having to play for two clubs and in national tournaments throughout the season with minimal rest.
This issue according to Peters is amplified for Fowler considering her age.
“You want to nurture a growing body which is why we should leave these kids, we know how good they are,” Peters said.
“But we don’t realise what they’re all going through.”
The Matilda’s take on Chile in their next round of international friendlies on November 13 in Newcastle.