Canada head coach Bev Priestman has hailed the communication and leadership skills shown by Tottenham Hotspur defender Shelina Zadorsky during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup.
The 28-year-old centre-back played in all three of Canada’s tournament matches in what was a relatively youthful and inexperienced defence.
In the first game against the United States, Zadorsky played alongside Vanessa Gilles, a player with just two senior caps to her name, at the heart of the defence. The Spurs defender then went on to partner 18-year-old Jade Rose in the two games which followed against Argentina and Brazil.
Despite Canada having collected just three points and one clean sheet during the tournament, head coach Bev Priestman said that she was pleased with her most experienced centre-back Zadorsky with the player leading by example in the back-line.
“I think her communication in the back-line to get the back-line up and to pull players in around her who might be out of position has been excellent” Priestman told FAWSL Full-Time after her side’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil.
“When you are in a back-line that hasn’t been together for a long time that takes it’s toll.
“I always think that centre-back roles are massive in trying to get that to happen (communicate) with new partnerships in every game.
“Shelina has done that as well as having to perform herself so I have just been really pleased with her communication and leadership on the pitch.”
It was a tough tournament for Canada who were missing several players. Head coach Priestman went on to expand on the selection challenges that she has faced.
She added “There were a number of players missing who could have been in the starting line-up. I worked it out today, it could be up to seven players.
“What you have seen is just some new players and new partnerships out on the pitch and of those new players in there, there were some massive performances across this tournament.
“The players wanted to win for the fans and for the country but ultimately, I’ve got to see more players step up than maybe I thought I would.”
Spurs defender Zadorsky will be hoping to see some of her experienced teammates return for Canada’s next fixture against England in April.