What to expect from Wales in international friendly against Football Ferns

posted in: Football Ferns, News

Wales will use all six of their substitutes in an effort to test the depth of their squad in Wednesday’s international friendly against the New Zealand Football Ferns.

The Wales camp see the match, to be played at Pinetar Arena, Spain (kick off 5am NZT), as a chance to give new faces an opportunity to force their way into their World Cup squad.

Missing from Wednesday’s game will be star player Jess Fishlock (35), five-time Wales Player of the Year who will stay with her United States club OL Reign, rather than travel to Spain.

Manchester United goalkeeper Safia Middleton-Patel receives her first full international call-up.

Midfielder Angharad James (28), a former clubmate of Ferns Abby Erceg and Katie Bowen at North Carolina Courage and now at Orlando Pride, is expected to play her 98th full international.

Rhiannon Roberts (31) is likely to feature in the Wales defence, opposing her former Liverpool teammate and current Fern defender Meikala Moore.

Gemma Grainger: ‘New Zealand provide the perfect preparation.’

Wales manager Gemma Grainger believes New Zealand will provide her team with the perfect preparation for her team’s  qualifying games in September.

Of New Zealand — who are rated 22nd, nine places higher than Wales in the FIFA world rankings — Grainger said:

“We’re hoping to get a competitive game against higher-ranked opposition.

“We know it’s the off-season for both teams and this June window can feel different at times.

“But we want to maximise the game and continue our progress with September in mind.

“We’ve got an amazing opportunity this summer with the Euros being on our doorstep, and we’ll learn as much as we can from that to help us moving forward in the future.”

Grainger says she will use all six available substitutes as part of a push to increase squad depth.

In September, Wales play their next World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Cardiff City Stadium in their campaign to qualify for a major tournament for the first time.

New Zealand, who qualify automatically for the World Cup as co-hosts, lost 1-0 to Wales in a friendly in Cardiff in June 2019, the last time the two sides met.

Wales captain Sophie Ingle, who plays club football for Chelsea, told the BBC:

“It’s not (about) the end result (against New Zealand).

“Obviously we’d love to win, but we are working on things for September and hopefully some of the strengths New Zealand have are the same as Slovenia’s, so we can link the game-plans up.”

Main photo: Wales … using the game against New Zealand to prepare for September’s World Cup qualifiers.

The match

Wales v New Zealand
Pinatar Arena, Pinatar, Spain
Wednesday June 29 (5am NZT)
Watch: Sky Sport 1

Ford Football Ferns squad

Lily ALFIELD (A-League Off Season programme, NZ), Elizabeth ANTON, (A-League Off Season programme, NZ), Mackenzie BARRY (A-League Off Season programme, NZ), Katie BOWEN (North Carolina Courage, US), Claudia BUNGE (Melbourne Victory, Australia), Olivia CHANCE (Celtic, Scotland), Daisy CLEVERLEY (HB Køge, Denmark), Victoria ESSON (Unattached), Ally GREEN (Vålerenga, Norway), Jacqui HAND (Åland United, Finland), Betsy HASSETT (Stjarnan, Iceland), Grace JALE (Heidelberg United FC, Australia), Annalie LONGO (Christchurch United), Meikayla MOORE (Unattached), Erin NAYLER (Umeå IK, Sweden), Gabi RENNIE (Arizona State University, US), Ali RILEY (Angel City FC, US), Emma ROLSTON (Avaldsnes IL, Norway), Paige SATCHELL (Unattached), Malia STEINMETZ (Unattached), Rebekah STOTT (FC Bulleen Lions, Australia), Kate TAYLOR (A-League Off Season Programme, NZ), Ashleigh WARD (Actonians LFC, England), Hannah WILKINSON (Melbourne City FC, Australia).

Coaching staff

Head coach: Jitka Klimková.

Assistant coaches: Natalie Lawrence (women’s U-20s assistant coach) and Michael Mayne (women’s U-17s assistant coach).

Wales squad

Laura O’SULLIVAN (Cardiff City Ladies), Olivia CLARK (Coventry United), Poppy SOPER (Unattached), Safia MIDDLETON-PATEL (Manchester United), Rhiannon ROBERTS (Liverpool), Josie GREEN (Unattached), Hayley LADD (Manchester United), Gemma EVANS (Reading), Rachel ROWE (Reading), Lily WOODHAM (Reading), Sophie INGLE (Chelsea), Anna FILBEY (Unattached), Angharad JAMES (Orlando Pride), Georgia WALTERS (Sheffield United), Carrie JONES (Manchester United), Ffion MORGAN (Bristol City), Meg WYNNE (Unattached), Elise HUGHES (Unattached), Kayleigh GREEN (Brighton & Hove Albion), Helen WARD (Watford), Tash HARDING (Unattached), Ceri HOLLAND (Liverpool), Chloe WILLIAMS (Manchester United), Morgan ROGERS (Tottenham Hotspur), Chloe BULL (Bristol City).

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