Emily Gielnik back from injury and "buzzing" to be on home soil

Emily Gielnik was just like us when the Commonwealth Bank Matildas made their return to Australia in October.

The striker was on the couch screaming and cheering like a fan, after injury ruled her out of traveling for the homecoming series.

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“Honestly, watching the Brazil games away as a spectator, you could say it's probably one of the best games, and I'm not just saying that because I love the team, but one of the most exciting games that I've watched on TV for a really, really long time in women's football,” Gielnik said.

“I was one of those crazy lunatics on the couch, screaming and it was end-to-end action. I loved seeing the girls play. Honestly, it was just nice to watch, it was a quality game of football."

In an ideal world, the Aston Villa striker would have been amongst the action. However, a broken toe meant she was busy in rehab.

“My rehab? Well, I hope I can say that it's no longer existent. I'm finally back, back with the girls where I want to be, back in Australia, and I'm on the mend so things are looking promising, I’ve definitely had a lot of progress lately.

"I'm just honestly buzzing to be able to put the football boots back on and be back on the green grass. That's all I really care about right now.”

The injury not only kept her away from Australian shores but meant her start to life in Birmingham didn’t go according to plan.  

“My move to England has been an interesting one so far. Two games in, I obviously had the little incident there and I've been out for eight weeks. I've only just started training with the team last week and here I am now.

It's not been the start that I've hoped for, but I'm really enjoying it so far. Birmingham is a nice city and the team's great. I'm just looking forward to getting back to full strength and really getting to know everyone.”

Gielnik was on the park in the most recent round of FAWSL action – where her Aston Villa side was defeated 5-0 by Hayley Raso’s Manchester City – as she eased back into game time.

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Coincidentally both she and Raso missed the Brazil friendlies due to injury, meaning the pair have both waited even longer to return home and soak up the Australian sun.

“The last time I was in Oz was probably almost over a year ago now. So I haven't seen my family, have been missing my friends and I just miss home. It’s just so good to be back here.

"Doing something that I love, hopefully in front of friends and family, it doesn't get much better than that," she said.

“You want to be playing football at the end of the day, but when you can play at home that means so much to me.”

While playing football is the goal, a game against the two-time reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions in the stadium that is set to host the 2023 final adds even more excitement.

The United States are a familiar opposition this year. Gielnik herself managed to find the back of the net in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics against the USWNT.

While the composition of the US squad is slightly different to the one that took to the park in Japan, Gielnik expects another enthralling set of contests.

“The kind of threats that the USA pose, to be honest, is all-round: attacking, defending, and dominating the middle of the pitch. I think they're just a very physical, fast, attacking style of team. 

"I think for us in the condition that we’re at and where we're coming off the Olympics, I think that's the kind of thing that we want to verse.

“You saw the game against Brazil, how attacking it was, how exciting it was and we want to verse that kind of team. I think that kind of opposition brings out the best in us, so we're expecting big things from them, but they can be expecting just as much from us.”

Match details

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v U.S. Women’s National Team
Saturday, 27 November 2021
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Kick-Off: 3.00pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and free on 10 and simulcast on 10 Play
Ticketing: www.ticketek.com.au

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v U.S. Women’s National Team
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 8.05pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and free on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play
Ticketing: www.ticketmaster.com.au