Head coach Vera Pauw (Ireland) during the UEFA Women's European Championship Qualification match between Germany and Republic of Ireland -Image by Sports Press Photo

Republic of Ireland boss Pauw hails Arsenal full-back’s ‘phenomenal’ season

Republic of Ireland head coach Vera Pauw says that Arsenal full-back Katie McCabe has enjoyed a ‘phenomenal’ season in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

The 25-year-old Dubliner has provided the joint-highest number of assists in the league with McCabe and Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly having created 11 goals. The full-back has also contributed three goals, two of which have come in North London derby wins over Tottenham Hotspur.

Commenting on McCabe’s performances for her club in an FAI press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Pauw said “She has had a fantastic season, phenomenal.

“Her runs through and her assists have been second to none, it has been very good.

McCabe’s role for club is very different from the one that she currently holds for her country. While McCabe plays full-back in an Arsenal shirt, she has been operating in a more attacking role for her country. Pauw went on to say that McCabe is no longer comfortable with playing higher up the park and she is desperate to play at full-back for her country if the Republic of Ireland can find a way of accommodating her request.

“She has expressed that she is uncomfortable in that position and would like to play in the same kind of position for the national team that she plays for her club,” Pauw said. “It is difficult when you play in-front of the ball then you play behind the ball.

“Now that she is constantly playing behind the ball (for Arsenal), she has said that she is not as comfortable playing in-front of the ball anymore. We are searching for a way of getting her forward (from a full-back position) because her most dangerous moments are coming from her left foot.

“We are trying to get more variety in our play and in-front of her and I have reassured her that attacking-wise, we can get more out of her but if you play at full-back, you have a defensive role also, that’s the primary role so we are still debating the best role for Katie.

“If a player says that they are no longer comfortable playing in a position, you have got to listen to them and try to build that into the team in the best way.”

The Republic of Ireland learnt of their FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023 qualifying opponents on Friday. The Girls in Green will face Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and Georgia in their group. Pauw said that she spoke briefly with McCabe following the draw and she was excited by the outcome.

“She was excited,” Pauw added. “She thinks that we can do something so we are on the same page.

“She also knows that it is not the best draw, we can say that it is a good draw but not the best draw.”

Qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023 begins in September 2021.

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