Westfield Matildas coach Ante Milicic has insisted that highly rated young forward Mary Fowler is a "different sort of player" to superstar striker Sam Kerr after naming the 16-year-old in his FIFA Women's World Cup squad.
The teenager was a notable inclusion in Milicic’s 23-player roster for Australia’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign, announced on Tuesday morning, having won just four caps so far for the national side.
She has rocketed to prominence amid comparisons to the free-scoring Kerr, but Milicic insists the prodigy is her own unique talent.
It has been a meteoric rise for Fowler, who made her international debut at 15 in the dying moments of the Westfield Matildas 2018 Tournament of Nations victory against Brazil.
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In doing so, the Bankstown City striker became the fifth youngest player to feature for the Australian women’s national team, 12 days behind Kerr, the very striker many Westfield Matildas fans hope she might one day emulate.
Milicic said he was impressed by the way Fowler performed during Australia’s April training camp in the United States.
The youngster has not, the 45-year-old insists, been selected simply to play the role of teenage wildcard in France, and Milicic said that he would have no concerns blooding one of Australia’s finest emerging talents on the biggest stage of all.
“I think when we go to a major tournament we always have to have one eye on the future,” Milicic said.
“First and foremost, for her age, she's a very good footballer. We always revert back to the football quality. I was quite pleased with the way she was with the group in the States most recently.
She's a different type of player to Sam [Kerr].
“I think in our environment, and [with] the players that she has around her, she's going to learn a lot.
“It's going to be a great learning experience for her, but at the same time she’s definitely going to contribute to the group.”