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Strong Ferns squad to face Matildas

Readings named a 20-strong squad for the fixtures on June 4 and 7 in Ballarat and Melbourne respectively, with the most notable inclusions a pair of newcomers in striker Jane Barnett and defender Paige Satchell as well as the return of striker Hannah Wilkinson from injury.
“We have picked an exciting squad which gives us plenty of attacking options,” said Readings.
Readings said this squad is reflective of where they are at as a team.
The Football Ferns have performed well on the world stage in recent years but Readings wants to see them go to another level.
“We know that against the likes of Australia – and at the Olympics we are going to come up against USA, France and Colombia – we need to be much more effective in the way we attack.
“We are playing well enough to compete in football matches consistently and the next step is to turn those performances into results.
“We feel like we have picked a squad that is capable of doing that.”
He said that new caps Barnett and Satchell have earned their places in the national squad after impressing in the local training camps staged in Auckland.
“The girls back here are training really hard and they have had opportunities to press their way in and that just shows in Jane and Paige being picked in this squad,” he said.
He said Wilkinson, who is back in New Zealand training with the squad full time, is a huge asset and they will welcome her experience back into the group.
“We have definitely missed her. While we have had some good results while Hannah has not been there, we know that bringing her back is like adding a new player because we haven’t had her since the World Cup.
“To have someone like her is only going to make us stronger.”
Readings said the upcoming tour will be an intense time for players.
“From a squad perspective the players know that they have to fight for their places, and that is great for them because the players constantly need to be pushed and tested
“Once you have got that depth in the squad you get pushed to new levels. That is what the best teams in the world have and we are starting to get that now.”
Readings said playing Australia on their home turf, the fifth ranked team in the world, and the winners of the Asian qualifiers for the Olympics, is the perfect preparation for their tough pool in Rio.
“We haven’t beaten them in a while but we have been very close to them in recent times.
“When you go to the Olympics there is that extra push, that extra edge and we are going to have that when we play Australia because there is that fierce rivalry and we know it will be a battle,” he said.
“It will give us a good benchmark of where we are at in high pressure situations.
“When we get to the Olympics, we want to be a team that can out fight opposition.
“We press hard and when we have the ball we control the game against the best teams.
“We see the pressure that we are going to be under as a privilege because it means that we are competing at the top level of the game.”
Football Ferns:
Jane Barnett (Unattached
Catherine Bott (Forrest Hill Milford United AFC)
Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City)
Katie Duncan (FC Zurich, Switzerland)
Abby Erceg (Western New York Flash)
Anna Green (Malbackens IF)
Sarah Gregorius (Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki)
Betsy Hassett (Werder Bremen)
Amber Hearn (USV Jena)
Cushla Lichtwark (Upper Hutt City FC)
Annalie Longo (Cashmere Technical)
Meikayla Moore (Norwest United)
Erin Nayler (Sky Blue FC,)
Ria Percival (USV Jena)
Jasmine Pereira (Three Kings United)
Ali Riley (FC Rosengard)
Paige Satchell (Three Kings United)
Rosie White (Liverpool FC)
Hannah Wilkinson (University of Tennessee)
Kirsty Yallop (Malbackens IF)
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football

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