Milicic pleased with squad depth as Westfield Matildas take out inaugural Cup of Nations

Westfield Matildas head coach Ante Milicic says the Cup of Nations has proven the depth in the squad ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.

Australia wrapped up the inaugural edition of the tournament with a comfortable 3-0 win over Argentina thanks to goals from Sam Kerr, Alanna Kennedy and Caitlin Foord.

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CHAMPIONS: Westfield Matildas take out Cup of Nations


Speaking to media post-match, Milicic said the competition had given him a better understanding of what the final make-up of his squad will be but that there was more to be done.

“[We] learnt a lot and that’s what we said at the start, these 23 girls are only guaranteed for these three games and we’ve got players coming back from injury outside the squad,” Milicic said.

“I’ll use the USA tour as another opportunity to see more new faces as well so that’s the main thing, to just see how these girls are in our environment.

“I need to, in a short space of time, look at as many as possible that are fit and are playing.”

The Westfield Matildas’ depth was tested even further at AAMI Park on Wednesday night when centre-halves Laura Alleway and Kennedy both went off with niggles, forcing a reshuffle at the back.

Milicic explained that it was merely precautionary and used the opportunity to try out fullback Steph Catley in a more central position.

“It was her [Alleway] leg, it was ankle… she wanted to stay on,” Milicic revealed.

“We’ve had a couple of those throughout the tournaments where the girls have picked up a little knock or niggle. We had the same with Alanna, a couple of others… she [Alleway] wanted to get it strapped and see if she could go on.

“The match minutes she has played has been significant, no need to take the risk with it, it was purely a precaution.”

With one remaining friendly against the United States before the showpiece event in France, Milicic used the situation to the team’s advantage.

“In the end at actually worked out well because we got to see Steph Catley move into the centre back role as another option,” he said.

“I could’ve put Clare [Polkinghorne] in but she’s had two full games, fantastic the first two. Again, it was more about seeing not only the girls getting match minutes but also in a few different positions.

“Gema Simon ended up playing as well. There was a couple of days we could’ve dealt with it but we decided to go that way.”