Everton manager Willie Kirk has admitted that he was pleased to see forward Valerie Gauvin handed an important role for France in both of their UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 qualifying matches during the last seven days.
The 24-year-old striker started both matches for Les Bleues against North Macedonia in Orleans last Friday and in Wiener Neustadt against Austria on Tuesday.
The French forward played 166 minutes in total for Corinne Diacre’s side and while that involvement would seem heavy for some international players with a Vitality Women’s FA Cup final just days away, Everton boss Kirk was pleased to see Gauvin get minutes with the forward having not been in a position to start every game for The Blue Girls in the early stages of the season.
When speaking in Everton’s official club press conference, Kirk told FA Women’s Super League Full-Time “Val was one that we wanted on the pitch as much as possible because it has taken us a while to get her up to match speed.
“The fact that Corinne (Diacre) thought that she was capable of that amount of minutes across two games was a real boost for us.
“Her fitness is getting better and better, her sharpness is getting better and she is coming back a world record holder (fastest international goal in women’s football history).
“Not many players come back from an international break a world record holder so the fact that she has come back having achieved something while she has been away can only be a positive for us.”
Gauvin was one of a whole host of Everton stars who were called up to represent their respective nations throughout the course of the last week. All of those internationals have now returned to Merseyside with a clean bill of health, however, manager Kirk admitted that it has been a nervous few days as he has waited to hear of news of both player fitness and health.
He said “Tuesday was a very nervous day, I was frantically checking team news, substitutions and whether players were being brought on or taken off or that they weren’t playing because they were carrying a knock.
“We were waiting for all of the medical reports yesterday and the last one came back from France which was in French which caused us a little bit of stress but we got that translated and everybody is ok.
“We have got a fully fit squad to choose from other than long-term injuries and with Claire Emslie being unavailable due to the registrations.”
With no new injury concerns to contend with, manager Kirk and his Everton side can now direct all of their focus towards their Wembley appearance against Manchester City in the 2019/2020 Vitality Women’s FA Cup final on Sunday. With Everton having already dumped 2018 winners Chelsea out of the competition, the club are now aiming to defeat the current holders and win back the trophy that they last held in 2010.