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Big chance for the youngsters...
 Women's Football News 21 Aug 2009
Big chance for the youngsters... - 21 Aug 2009 - Women's Football NewsSunday sees our first international friendly of the season against Slovenia and is the opener for what is going to be an important campaign for the Welsh side.
It will be the first match of the season for many of us in the squad and is a good game to get under our belts before the World Cup qualifiers begin in earnest next month.
I don't really know too much about Slovenia but they are only just below us in the world rankings and will not be easy opposition. I do know though that we have a young squad and it will be a good game for the youngsters to come in and get involved. The squad is going to be young as we go forward but the youngsters have proved they are worth their place and in games like this they prove that they should be in the squad.
Four uncapped players have been called up and that shows that the youth system in Wales is working well. Sophie Dando is a young goalkeeper who has come through while left back Nia Jones has a good left foot and I have been impressed with her in training. I know Sharla Passiarello from my time at Bristol Academy and she looks a good player as does Emily Brown, the other newcomer.
Whilst looking at the squad, I have noticed that I am now the fifth most capped player, which is quite scary actually! The game should see Cheryl Foster win her 50th cap and become only the second Welsh player to do so - that is a great achievement and I hope to follow in her footsteps one day. I was really surprised to see that I am second top scorer, only Cheryl has more goals!
Hopefully the Slovenia game will give us confidence going into the World Cup matches. In the Euro 2009 qualifiers, defensively we were good and made it difficult for teams to break us down but the attacking side of things lacked a little bit, particularly converting possession into goalscoring opportunities.
The attacking players in the squad are not too bad on paper, we just don't quite play together enough to get the cohesion we need. Helen Lander, for example, has not played a competitive match for us yet, which shows how long it has been since our last one against Germany over a year ago.
The Euro 2009 campaign was a frustrating one, not just for me but for all of the players as well as the manager. We were getting better as each game went but still losing by the odd goal - naivety and inexperience cost us on occasions and we gave teams too much respect.
Therefore we need to take the Slovenia game seriously to prepare for the upcoming matches with Belgium and the Czech Republic. There is no reason why we can't get anything out of those two games - we can't go into this campaign with the same excuses and can't be happy with losing by the odd goal any more. Our expectations are a lot higher this time.
The two friendlies we played against Finland last year were fantastic, really positive for us. We gave two good performances against a top side in Europe and deserved our draw in the second game. However the Algarve Cup was a disappointing tournament for us, to be honest, although there were good things we could take from it.
Overall, we are happy where we are but we must learn from our mistakes and go forward. The Algarve was a wake up call for us, frustrating stuff was still happening after we did so well against Finland. There were positives to take from it though and we need to work on our strengths as well, starting from this Sunday at Llanelli.

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