The Matildas have called upon a raft of new faces but will be without star attacker Caitlin Foord for their upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland later this month.
Foord was excluded from Tony Gustavsson’s 25-person squad having been struck down with a quad issue which also forced her out of Arsenal’s season opener against Chelsea.
Instead of joining the squad for the September training camp and friendly she will remain in England to continue her rehab.
“We felt that if she isn’t available to play games for them (Arsenal), she’s more likely not going to be available to play games for us,” Gustvasson told the media on Wednesday.
“We need to look at player wellbeing and co-operate with the club and in this case unfortunately Caitlin is not available for the game,
“I’m honestly not sure how serious it is, all I know is she’s not available for selection at this point.”
Gustavsson has called upon seven new faces along with 18 of the players who made up the squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
W-League Championship winning captain Angela Beard headlines the new faces in the squad having impressed at Denmark’s Fortuna Hjørring since making the move from Melbourne Victory.
Brisbane Roar’s Jamilla Rankin, Winonah Heatley and Sydney FC forward Remy Siemsen are also among the first-time inclusions.
Experienced defenders Emma Checker and Jenna McCormick have also earned re-calls along with versatile midfielder Amy Harrison.
The camp marks the commencement of the fresh international cycle which will take them through both the Asian Cup next year, into the World Cup on home soil in 2023 before concluding at the Paris Olympics in three years time.
Gustavsson described the September window as the beginning of a “new chapter” for the side.
“This is a chance to start looking into those improvements we saw at the Olympics,” Gustavsson said.
“There are things we are really proud of at the Olympics but there are also some key areas that we need to improve on,
“One of the things we wanted to do is give a lot of players an opportunity to come into the Matildas environment,
“Even some of those players who are not ready to be brought in because we need to see where they can be two years from now and the only way to do that is to bring them into the Matilda environment.”
Gustavsson marked the defence as an area for improvement, bringing in five defenders among his seven inclusions to help remedy their leaky back-line which shipped 13 goals from six games in Tokyo.
However, the Matildas boss made it clear they won’t alter their high-octane style for a more defence-first mindset, instead focusing on how they can better defend while still sticking true to their attacking principles.
“We felt that at this point we needed to give more room for multiple defenders to be brought in,” Gustavsson said.
“In the heart of everything we do, we are always going to be a very aggressive pressing, a high-octane attacking minded team. That is not going to change,
“If we are talking about improving defending for example, it’s not going to be a change in identity and all of a sudden to park the bus and keep a clean sheet – that is never going to happen with this team,
“It’s more about if we can still do what we do, do it better and make sure we don’t get exposed on counters the way we did in the Olympics at times and there are different ways at looking into that,
“It could be positioning behind the ball when we get dispossessed so we can regain the ball more often and not get transitioned on,
“It’s just making sure that we don’t get dispossessed in bad areas as many times and dealing with spaces forward.”
Karly Roestbakken and Elise Kellond-Knight have also been called up to the camp for assessment but neither will feature in the match against The Girls in Green as they continue their recovery from respective injuries.
Matildas squad for September window:
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams
Defenders: Angela Beard, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Emma Checker, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley, Alanna Kennedy, Jenna McCormick, Courtney Nevin, Claire Polkinghorne, Jamilla Rankin
Midfielders: Kyra Cooney-Cross, Amy Harrison, Chloe Logarzo, Emily Van Egmond, Tameka Yallop
Forwards: Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon, Remy Siemsen
Republic of Ireland vs Australia
Kick-off: Wednesday September 22, 4 AM (AEST).
Venue: Tallaght Stadium, Dublin, Ireland