Brisbane Roar and Westfield Matildas star Katrina Gorry has always possessed the ability to time her runs to perfection.
That skill has been demonstrated again following the 26-year-old’s inclusion in Ante Milicic’s 23-player squad for the Westfield Matildas’ friendly with USA on April 5 (AEDT).
Gorry’s dreams of representing Australia at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France were endangered by a high-ankle sprain she suffered at the turn of the year.
However, as the Brisbane-born midfielder wrote on Instagram at the time, she has been fully aware of the potential reward of a ticket to France that waited for her at the end of her recovery.
And although the experienced Westfield W-League campaigner has not played since Brisbane’s 4-3 win over eventual Premiership winners Melbourne Victory last December, her return is a huge bonus for Milicic’s World Cup plans.
The 2014 AFC Women’s Player of the Year has won 72 caps for the Westfield Matildas, and it was her command of the midfield that helped Australia to their landmark 1-0 Tournament of Nations victory over the USA in July 2017.
Having earned her call-up to Milicic’s squad for their highly anticipated international friendly against the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions, a repeat of that performance will do Gorry’s chances of securing her place on the flight to France no harm at all.
But the Westfield Matildas boss is guarded against throwing Gorry straight back into the mix against the US without first carefully monitoring her progression when camp commences.
"I want to see her come into camp and see where she's at," Milicic said.
"We don't want to force players or risk players for the USA game - it's not important.
"It won't be a game where we're going to rush players to get match fitness. I don't want to make a decision until she's with the group and she's had a few training sessions.
"When you've been out for such a long time and be thrown in which will be a very high intensity opponent, you always run a risk.
"Once we get into camp we'll have a more accurate guide of where she's at."
Another midfielder looking to make a successful comeback from injury is Chloe Logarzo, who was selected in Milicic's inaugural Cup of Nations squad but had to withdraw with an ankle injury.
Logarzo's Sydney FC teammate Elizabeth Ralston is also aiming to impress the Westfield Matildas coach after earning selection for the first time.
The 23-year-old defender was excellent in the run to the Sky Blues' Championship win, and is one of five players selected from Sydney FC alongside Logarzo, Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord and Alanna Kennedy – who Ralston partnered in defence for last month’s 4-2 Grand Final win over Perth Glory.
Talented 16-year-old Mary Fowler and former Western Sydney Wanderers shot stopper Teagan Micah are the other new faces in Milicic’s squad.
Milicic will name Australia’s squad for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in mid-May before the team commences its final preparations for France in Antalya, Turkey, from May 19.
Australia’s fixture against the United States from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will be broadcast LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 503.