Katie McCabe hopes to get her eye-catching performances for Arsenal in Ireland’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Finland.
The Dubliner, who turned 26 last month, has scored in three straight Super League games for women and her long-distance move against Aston Villa and volley from the edge of the area against Everton has received a lot of attention online in recent weeks.
Now the Irish captain hopes to dazzle in a green shirt when Vera Pauw’s side welcomes world-two-ranked Sweden to Tallaght Stadium on Thursday before he goes to Helsinki to face Finland on 26 October.
“Of course I enjoy my football,” she told RTÉ Sport.
“It has been a good start to the season with Arsenal. We have had back-to-back matches so it has been a pretty tight schedule, but all the forms I have I will make sure to include it in Ireland’s games in the coming week, and hopefully I can help the team get over the line. “
“I am absolutely confident in this squad and what we are capable of. We worked on certain things in the Australia game and got the positive result. For us, it is about maintaining that positivity to go into this camp and get to the job and prepare ourselves as best we can. “
– Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) 11 October 2021
Ireland’s promotion was originally scheduled to start in Tbilisi on September 17, but the FAI submitted a request to the Georgian Football Association and UEFA to change the match due to several British players not being available due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Although the Australian game proved to be a good substitute as it ended the team’s losing streak in seven matches, it means that their first competitive match for the Australia-New Zealand tournament is against Group A’s heavy hitter.
“That’s what international football is about, it’s testing yourself against the best,” McCabe said.
“There is no better way than to start than against Sweden. Obviously (there were) the frustrations of the last camp with Georgia, and we had to push it back, but for us to start our campaign now against Sweden is really exciting.
“They are one of the best teams in the world and I saw them during the summer, the Olympics too, and I have played against (Magda) Eriksson week in, week out.
“We know what quality they have, but it is up to us to prepare as best we can for the upcoming matches and see what we can get out of it.”
McCabe played back-to-back in the 3-2 win over Australia but her versatility gives Ireland many options, and manager Pauw said the two would have discussions about where her captain would be placed going forward.
“Everyone can see the importance of Katie for this squad on and off the field,” said Pauw.
“She’s my first link of course as captain, but not just because she’s the captain’s bracelet but because she’s the captain of this team.
“Katie has a very difficult position and that’s something we’ll discuss this week together. She does not know yet, so she knows now.
“At Arsenal, she has a different role from here and switching from one role to another is extremely difficult, especially when you feel you can do even more than you already do for the team.
“Professionalism and the hunger for success and leadership qualities, you can not ask for anything better as a coach from your captain.”
Meanwhile, McCabe, who spoke at the announcement of Cadbury as the official partner of the Irish women’s team, said that the fact that Thursday’s game with Sweden in Tallaght has sold out days before kick-off is a great support for the site’s progress and far from when she debuted in 2015.
“We only got a couple of hundred at Tallaght Stadium, but you would always feel those hundreds.
“Then you saw them after the matches, obviously you would go up and give them autographs and stuff. Right now, even against Australia, you still see these faces and obviously more as well.
“I know the stadium is sold out by Thursday. I think when the Covid lifts would like to see even more fans come.
“I know I’m biased but I think we have the best fans in the world, we also saw it with the boys’ game against Qatar. We got Aviva to swing and hopefully we can see Tallaght Stadium swing on Thursday.”
Follow the Republic of Ireland against Sweden via our live blog on RTÉ.ie / sport and the RTÉ News app, or watch RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player live.
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