Matildas debut leaves Kaitlyn Torpey wanting more

    The Matildas are adamant there is plenty to come from impressive debutant Kaitlyn Torpey – especially if she can become more selfish.

    The full-back started on the wing in Saturday night’s first Olympic qualifying leg against Uzbekistan, and impressed in her 45 minutes on the field during Australia’s 3-0 win

    Torpey also had the unenviable honour of taking on injured superstar Sam Kerr’s No.20 jersey.

    Someone had to wear it, given the requirement to register squad numbers between one and 22, and Kerr herself gave the 23-year-old the tick of approval pre-game, commenting on the Matildas’ Instagram post of Torpey’s debut: “And what a number to do it in. Congrats.”

    Torpey was intense and fleet-footed from the opening minute.

    She probably should have scored, opting to lay off a chance instead of shooting.

    “It was a good game for her to get an opportunity to get some minutes in and she’s obviously worked hard for that,” teammate Mary Fowler said.

    “If anything, maybe be a bit more selfish out there to shoot. But it’s her first time there.

    “But I thought she did well, and she got herself in good positions to create opportunities for the team. So I think it’s just the beginning for her.”

    Coach Tony Gustavsson added: “You know how it is – you want to kind of play it safe and do good for your teammates, and maybe she was not as selfish as she should have been as a forward.

    “But I know, I’ve seen in training, she could do even more.”

    Gustavsson, who told Torpey on Thursday she would be playing, admitted it had taken some “bravery” from players and coaches to give her a debut in a high-stakes game.

    Torpey, who recently completed a transfer from Melbourne City to San Diego Wave, was selected to help limit an overloaded Caitlin Foord’s minutes, but also because of her impressive training form.

    “That’s always the challenge when you perform at club land, can you bring it into international level?” Gustavsson said.

    “Everything is faster, everything is much more intense, quick decisions, whether it’s quick thought, or quick feet or the technique, and she showed that she could do that. She adjusted very quickly.”

    Still coming off the “high” of her debut, Torpey was keen to kick on ahead of Wednesday’s second leg in Melbourne.

    “It is a level up. I was ready for it but there is a lot to learn, especially today, that was the biggest learning point for me,” she said.

    “There is so much that I can improve on … just to be more calm and confident on the ball, I want to take my chances as they come.

    “There is so much to learn off the girls and I’ll sit through film with some of the coaches after this and take more out of it.”

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