Polkinghorne: 'No position is safe'

Westfield Matildas defender Clare Polkinghorne said the improved depth in Australian football means that no player is assured of a starting berth in the Seven Consulting International Series against Chile.

The likes of Sam Kerr, Katrina Gorry and Emily van Egmond have returned to the Westfield Matildas squad as they prepare for two friendlies against the South American nation in Penrith and Newcastle.

But after a host of younger players got a chance to impress against France and England in October, Polkinghorne said everyone in coach Alen Stajcic’s squad is on notice.

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“Having a couple of tough games over there [in Europe] with some younger players is really beneficial to us,” Polkinghorne - who scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with England at Craven Cottage - said on Wednesday.

“It only makes the training environment more competitive and you can see a number of players who used to be on the bench - [they] are fighting for their starting positions and when they do get their opportunity, then they’re taking it.

“There’s no position where a player can say their position is safe which is, you know, what we want as a group. 

“We want to make ‘Staj’’s job as hard as it can be and make it difficult for him to choose a team because at the end of the day, whichever 11 we put out there, we know that they can do the job.”

Stajcic in training

Polkinghorne added that she felt the Westfield Matildas had “the best depth that we’ve had in a long time” and that the return of some more experienced faces had also been “really exciting”.

But Australia will not be taking Chile lightly in the two friendly fixtures, even if they are ranked 39th in the world.

“They’re going to a very tough team,” she said.

“They’re going to be hard to break down. It’s going to be a tough game on Saturday as well as Tuesday.

“It’s important [to win these games] for a number of reasons, not only to give the fans a good show and to get them on board but also our preparation towards the World Cup.

Westfield Matildas fans

“These are the games that we need to be winning and these are the teams that we’ll be playing in the World Cup [next year].

“We need to be ready and make sure that we can perform against them.”

Seven Consulting International Series – Match Information:

Westfield Matildas v Chile
Date: Saturday, 10 November 2018
Venue: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
Kick-off: 3.30pm (AEDT)
Tickets: http://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/tickets
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS 505, SBS TV, and the My Football Live app

Westfield Matildas v Chile 
Date: Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEDT)
Tickets: http://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/tickets
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS 505, SBS TV, and the My Football Live app