Carpenter: European moves a boost for Matildas

Ellie Carpenter in action for the Matildas Source: Getty Images

When Ellie Carpenter takes stock of who's around her on the Parc Olympique Lyonnais pitch, sometimes the 20-year-old can't believe it.

To her left is the indomitable Wendie Renard - the best centre-back in the world.

In front of her on the wing is French sensation Delphine Cascarino, while brilliant German playmaker Dzsenifer Marozsan commands the midfield.

Playing and training alongside some of the biggest names in women's football was one of the key reasons Matildas defender Carpenter moved to powerhouse club Olympique Lyonnais on a long-term deal last year.

"It's like a match every training session that everyone just wants to win," Carpenter said.

"I definitely think I'm improving here every day and that was my goal from coming here, getting better as a player.

"I really wanted to focus on my technical side here and we do a lot of technical things in training as well.

"I definitely think that side of my game has improved already and I'm excited to see where I'm at after my time here."

Carpenter is one of many Matildas to trade back-to-back seasons in the W-League and America's NWSL for an almost year-round experience at one club.

The young gun has reaped the rewards, starting almost every game at right-back for Lyon this season and making her UEFA Women's Champions League debut.

In a similar vein, Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord have also thrived alongside Europe's genuine superstars, making their mark for Chelsea and Arsenal respectively across multiple competitions.

It's these experiences Carpenter believes will hold key Matildas in good stead against European opposition after losing to both Italy and Norway at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup.

"Many of us are playing with so many players from different European national teams," Carpenter said.

"Now we get to know the people and we hear things from their national team or their camp so I feel like we're amongst it all now.

"Before I thought we were so far away and separate from the European teams.

"We never really got that insight or played with any of the players but now all of us are playing with pretty much a player from every national team I would say in Europe.

"So I think that's an advantage and we'll definitely have learned a lot obviously from the last World Cup and now going into next year we'll be a lot wiser."

The Matildas are hoping to assemble under new coach Tony Gustavsson in early 2021 and Carpenter expected her teammates to have all improved off the back of their time in Europe.

"When we get back together, it will be a whole new environment," she said.

"Obviously with our new coach I think everyone will be at a new level.

"You look at the Aussies in the leagues and they're performing week in, week out, getting player of the match, scoring, assisting.

"The Aussies in their teams and the leagues are doing so well and improving each week and in each game so I think that's really going to bring our team to the next level."

Source AAP