The progression of goalkeeper Grace Moloney in the Reading and the Republic of Ireland sides this season is down to her own decision making says her national team boss Vera Pauw.
The 27-year-old has always been a well-respected goalkeeper in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League but her performances seem to have gone up another level this season with Moloney rivalling the very best goalkeepers in the division.
Moloney’s performances for Reading have also been recognised by the Republic of Ireland with the player making her competitive debut against Germany in a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 qualifying match in December.
Republic of Ireland head coach Pauw has been speaking about the player’s development this season and she says that the reason behind Moloney’s exceptional form is down to the player wanting to depend more upon her own judgement.
“She believed that she was very close to a start (for the Republic of Ireland) and then was not selected” Pauw said when speaking to FAWSL Full-Time in a recent FAI press conference. “It was frustrating for her and for us, she was there but she just didn’t quite make that last little step.
“It was at this point that she wanted to be herself and react and make decisions in games how she sees them.
“That is what we try to teach – that players make decisions themselves and we put players into situations where they are forced to make decisions themselves.
“She said that she had a moment in which she decided to look at situations as they happen and develop from her in-game experiences.
“Within two months, she jumped up a level and there was no hesitation from us in giving Grace her debut against Germany because she stood out.”
Moloney was on the losing side on her Republic of Ireland debut as the Germans won 3-1 but that scoreline did not tell the full story with the Reading keeper having performed really well throughout. Pauw went on to express how pleased she was with Moloney’s performance in that match.
She added “Grace really stood out. If you compare her performance against Germany with her earlier performances, they are incomparable.
“We were very pleased with Grace’s performance, it was exceptional against Germany and of course, that is now the standard.
“The moment you step up, that is the new standard.”
Moloney has been an ever-present for Reading in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this season. Her consistent performances have helped her side to collect points from 11 of their 15 league matches. Moloney’s value to the Reading side was recently highlighted by the fact that the player has signed a new two-year deal with the Berkshire club.