Van Egmond excited to co-captain Matildas

By , 10/02/2019 20:10

RESPONSIBILITY: Emily van Egmond played a key role against New Zealand. Picture: Getty ImagesWHEN Newcastle’s Emily van Egmond celebrates her 20th birthday next month, chances are she will still be pinching herself.
Nanjing Night Net

Van Egmond was last week given the co-captaincy of the Matildas for two international friendly wins over New Zealand in Canberra.

Australia defeated New Zealand 1-0 on Thursday night then 4-2 on penalties after a 1-all regulation-time result on Sunday to claim the Centenary Cup.

Van Egmond scored one of the penalties on Sunday and was a key member of new Dutch coach Hesterine de Reus’s first two Matildas line-ups, which are built around playing an uptempo, possession-based style.

She anchored midfield and provided the vital link between defence and attack on the pitch.

However, it is clear de Reus views van Egmond as a long-term senior figure on and off the field after asking her to step into the co-captaincy breach left by the late withdrawal from the New Zealand matches of former Novocastrian Kate Gill due to a hamstring injury.

De Reus named Gill, a former Newcastle Jet, and Clare Polkinghorne as the new Matildas captains last month.

For van Egmond, who had only 16 caps for Australia, the call to replace Gill came out of the blue.

‘‘It was really exciting,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘It was a different role for me, but it was good.

‘‘I was completely shocked.’’

The honour put the teenager in the elite company of Cheryl Salisbury, Joanne Peters and Alison Forman as Novocastrians to lead the Matildas.

But there is little time for van Egmond to savour the moment.

She will be part of the Australian squad that departs next week for a tour of Europe which will include games against the Netherlands on June 29, Dutch club side ADO Den Haag on July 2 and France on July 6.

The Jets midfielder believes the close wins over the Kiwis will hold the Matildas in good stead.

‘‘It was a good test for us under the new coach, our first internationals, and New Zealand were really, really good,’’ she said.

‘‘I was impressed with how they played. They’ve improved a lot.

‘‘We’re obviously learning a new structure now and way to play, and it’s not familiar to everyone yet, but I think once we play a bit more and have a better understanding of it, I think we will do well.’’

After the tour, van Egmond is expected to link with Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The winner of last season’s W-League goal of the year played in the elite US competition in 2012 with Western New York Flash, who she helped reach the grand final.

As for a return to Newcastle after that for the next W-League season, van Egmond was unsure where she would playing.

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