Ahead of her 100th cap for the Matildas, coach Tony Gustavsson believes it’s one of the greatest privileges in his career to work with Sam Kerr.
On the eve of her 100th cap for the Matildas, Sam Kerr is hoping to make it an occasion to remember when Australia takes on Ireland.
Kerr made her debut as a fresh-faced 15-year-old in 2009, when she came on as a substitute for the Matildas in a friendly against Italy.
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She is now perhaps the most recognisable face and name in Australian football, especially after her heroics at the Tokyo Olympics that helped her to surpass Lisa De Vanna as the Matildas’ all-time top goalscorer.
For Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, he thanks his lucky stars every day for the chance to work with such a world-class footballer.
“I could stand here for hours and talk about Sam Kerr, to be honest,” Gustavsson said.
“It’s such a privilege to be a small part of her phenomenal career.
“She’s not just a phenomenal and world-class footballer, she’s a phenomenal and world-class person as well.
“Her influence to this team on and off the pitch can’t be described in words.”
Kerr only had to make a short trip to link up with the national squad in Ireland, as she plies her trade in England for football powerhouse Chelsea in the FA Women’s Super League.
She made the switch to the Blues from American outfit Chicago Red Stars in 2019, but took a while to acclimatise to life as a Chelsea player.
However, after a stellar 2020-21 season with Chelsea, in which she bagged over 20 goals for the club, Gustavsson believes a key trait has been behind her huge success for both club and country.
“She’s also shown a lot of mental toughness, I think,” Gustavsson said.
“When she was criticised early on in the England league, she took that and just proved how good she is.
“[She] also carried our team in the Olympics under pressure, whether we were a goal down and she scored goals, or whether she carried her team in the locker room.
“She’s in a really good place in her career now, and I can’t wait to keep working with her and experience a World Cup on home soil with her.”