Emily van Egmond joins Jets' Matildas

IN 1996 a 17-year-old named Joey Peters was named in the Matildas squad to play New Zealand, and she went on to become one of Australia's best players.Yesterday it was the turn of 15-year-old Newcastle W-League Jet Emily van Egmond, who was yesterday selected in the 21-person squad to play two internationals against Italy.Matildas coach Tom Sermanni said he could see comparisons between van Egmond and a 17-year-old Peters."I think she [van Egmond] is ready to be looked at, despite her youth. She's physically mature and also has a very good football brain," Sermanni said."This is an ideal opportunity to have a look at her and see where she's at and see how she copes."She reminds me of a younger Joey Peters, and Joey came into the team at a young age and handled it really well, so we'll see how she goes."Van Egmond's debut for the Matildas could be a changing of the guard. Peters, 29, and Jets and Matildas skipper Cheryl Salisbury, 34, are likely to retire from national duty after the Italy series.Peters and Salisbury, along with fellow Jets Amber Neilson and Kate Gill, have also been named in the squad the second largest contingent for a W-League club after premiers Queensland Roar.Newcastle girl Lauren Colthorpe was also named in the squad after her fine season with Queensland.Sermanni said van Egmond, the daughter of Jets A-League coach Gary van Egmond, was not named to simply soak up the atmosphere of the Matildas training sessions."There's no point bringing players into this squad, particularly new players, and not actually giving them any game time because it defeats the purpose of bringing them in," he said."Certainly my intention is to give her game time."The first match against the Italians is on January 31 at Parramatta Stadium, followed by a game at Canberra Stadium on February 7.Peters said she was pleased to be compared with van Egmond because she held the teenager in the highest regard."I think we're all trying to help Emily make that progress to the next step," Peters said."She can dribble the ball, she can pass the ball, set up goals and score them herself. "She has that all-round game that's what I took pride in as well and she has youth on her side and plenty of energy and enthusiasm. "She is not intimidated."Van Egmond has been a regular member of the Young Matildas under-20 and under-17 sides in recent years, but the year 10 Whitebridge High School student credits playing with the Jets against senior women in the W-League as the reason behind her call-up. "The W-League has been great. It's given lots of younger players an opportunity to see if they're up to it, so it's been a good competition," van Egmond said. "A lot of younger players have done really well against older women."It an amazing feeling [being picked]. It came as a surprise, and I've just got to try and be consistent in my game and do as well as I can." Matildas squad: Melissa Barbieri, Danielle Brogan, Ellie Brush, Tameka Butt, Lauren Colthorpe, Lisa de Vanna, Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Lana Harch, Elise Kellond-Knight, Collette McCallum, Kate McShea, Caitlin Munoz, Amber Neilson, Joey Peters, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Emily van Egmond, Sarah Walsh and Lydia Williams.

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