Mystery over Matildas champion Sam Kerr’s fitness for England showdown as coach REFUSES to say if Chelsea star is injured or not
- Australia lost 1-0 to Scotland
- Next, face the might of England
- Star Kerr could be hurt
Sam Kerr’s fitness to play Matildas’ glamor match against England has been shrouded in mystery after coach Tony Gustavsson declined to say if his star striker is injured.
Following Australia’s 1-0 defeat to Scotland at AFC Wimbledon’s home of Plow Lane on Friday, Gustavsson sounded uneasy when asked if Kerr was actually injured.
“I can’t comment on that, so I’ll keep that close to my chest from now on – yes, I’ll pass that on,” said the Swede, who will need all of Kerr’s gifts for goal to prevent the latest overseas warm-up -up of his team for the World Cup in July ends in defeats.
Kerr had stressed on Thursday how much she wanted to play against England for the first time in her career, and Gustavsson wasn’t ruling out the chance to add to her 62 international goals in Tuesday’s highly anticipated match at Brentford. .
“If I’m betting today, I think she will be available, but that’s just speculation,” said Gustavsson, whose side will face an England side that has not lost in 30 games and won the European title at the same time.
“So I need to talk to sports science and medical staff and Sam himself, and see where she is on Tuesday – but I know she would love to play.”
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson would not admit whether Australian star Sam Kerr was injured ahead of the game against England
Kerr did not feature in Matilda’s 1-0 defeat to Scotland, which has raised concerns about her fitness
The coach made it sound as if Kerr could have been used against Scotland even in the final stages after her students failed to hit the target in response to Nicola Docherty’s erratic, looping in the 47th minute.
“Of course I must admit that it was a temptation to bring her in. It itches in me and it tickles in Sam, but we had a long talk last night that it was best for her to let this rest against Scotland,’ Gustavsson said.
“She comes from an extremely difficult playing environment at Chelsea with weekly back-to-back games for almost two months.
‘It’s about the bigger picture. If I had been as a young, inexperienced coach 15 years ago, thinking that the short-term result is the most important thing, I probably would have played against her and risked the big picture.
“But now that I have a little more experience and understand that there is a bigger picture, I don’t want to win at the cost of sacrificing and endangering the health of key players.”
Australia’s Alex Chidiac and Cortnee Vine remain optimistic during their defeat to Scotland
Australia’s Larissa Crummer tries to score past Scottish goalkeeper Lee Gibson, but the Matildas had no firepower without Kerr
Ahead of Friday’s game, Kerr could be seen on the sidelines, appearing to move a little cautiously, while Chelsea were no doubt desperate not to be at risk in any way ahead of a host of important matches in the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League. as well as the Women’s Super League.
But without Kerr’s firepower and the injured trio of Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik and Kyah Simon on Friday, the Matildas seemed short on striking quality, save for a sharp-looking Cortnee Vine, who hit the crossbar with one shot and had have to repent. another.
“I think the forwards have done a great job on the defensive side; on the offensive side, we struggled to activate them well enough,” said Gustavsson.
However, there was plenty of quality on display from fullback Ellie Carpenter, back in an Australian shirt for the first time in a year following her ACL rupture.
“Ellie brings a lot of confidence and energy to our team and our rear,” said captain Clare Polkinghorne.
“She’s a very aggressive player, likes to get up front and she’s very difficult to handle, so very nice to see her back and have her back in the camp. It’s a big boost for us.’