Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler sound World Cup weather warning to England’s players

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Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler
Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler could both face several club team-mates when they play England on Tuesday
Date: Tuesday, 11 April Venue: Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sounds & follow live text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app.

Australian pair Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler have warned their English team-mates at Manchester City that they might get a shock with the weather when they head to the World Cup in July.

Fowler and Raso are getting ready to line up for the Matildas against Sarina Wiegman’s European champions in a friendly at Brentford on Tuesday.

And they have both been fielding plenty of questions from City’s England contingent, with Australia and New Zealand hosting the World Cup later this year.

“A lot of the girls have been asking what’s it’s like. They have been asking about the weather and what the flight will be like,” Raso – who has spent three years in England, having previously played at Everton – told BBC Sport.

Fowler added: “It’s funny because they all think Australia is going to be nice and sunny in the summer but it’s winter over there and it is freezing in New Zealand. It will be a bit of a shock.”

Tuesday’s friendly will be the first time Australia have met England since 2018 – though Great Britain were beaten by the Matildas in the Olympic quarter-finals two years ago.

Raso and Fowler could come up against several club-mates including Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Alex Greenwood.

Led by striker Sam Kerr, the Australia squad is packed full of Women’s Super League talent – with Raso and Fowler hoping they can make a mark at a World Cup held partly on their home turf.

“It will be amazing. The World Cup is the pinnacle of football and to think we have that in our country with our friends, family and fanbase all there to support us is great,” Raso said.

“There’s a lot of hype around Australia at the moment. We’re all really excited and can’t wait to have all the teams and big players out there in our country.”

‘I always had my sights set on England’

Mary Fowler
Mary Fowler joined Manchester City in a four-year deal last summer

Fowler, 20, joined City from Montpellier last June, and is among a significant group of Australians in the WSL – including Chelsea’s Kerr, Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord and West Ham’s Mackenzie Arnold.

“I didn’t chat much with anyone before coming but it was really comforting for me to know I knew people here already,” said Fowler.

“It’s easier to mould into a team when you have people around who know what to expect.

“I always had my sights set on playing in England. I always thought the English league was one of the best in women’s football. It was the next step to where I wanted to go.”

Fowler was a regular at Montpellier, scoring five goals in 15 starts in her first season before joining City in a four-year deal.

There have been fewer opportunities so far in England, with Fowler making nine substitute appearances for Gareth Taylor’s side in the WSL this season – but she is looking to build momentum going into the World Cup.

“Gareth Taylor wants me to play freely and take my time to adjust to the team which I feel I have now,” said Fowler.

“I definitely see a difference in how I play now to when I first got here. It’s hard to break into the squad as a new player but the progression has been positive. I’m just looking to build on that.”

‘I remembered what I had missed’

Hayley Raso
Hayley Raso broke her back in a freak accident during a match in 2018

Tuesday’s friendly in London against the European champions will give Australia an opportunity to assess how well prepared they are for a World Cup that kicks off in just over three months’ time.

The joint-hosts, ranked 10th in the world, have never gone beyond the quarter-finals.

However, Fowler hopes bringing the World Cup to Australia will boost development of the women’s game back home.

“You can see how much the Euros have inspired girls and boys to get into football here in England,” she added.

“Getting to have those top-class players and teams come to Australia, right on your door step, will be great.”

For Raso, it will be a special summer, as she contemplated retirement following a serious back injuryexternal-link in 2018. At that time, the idea of representing her country in a home World Cup was unthinkable.

“That was a really tough time in my life. It was traumatic both mentally and physically,” said Raso.

“When I did come back from that, I played for the national team again and I remembered what it was like, what I had missed and what it would be like if I was to stop.

“It put a lot of things into perspective. Now I make sure I try to enjoy every day because it could be taken away from you pretty quickly.”


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