Samantha Kerr returns for Australia, wonderkid Mary Fowler rejects call-up
Matildas wonderkid Mary Fowler has knocked back a spot in the national team to train with Cristiano Ronaldo's sprint coach in England instead.
The 15-year-old has looked right at home in the green and gold since debuting for Australia's women's national team in friendlies earlier this year, earning comparisons to current star forward Sam Kerr thanks to her ability to sniff out a goal.
But, born to an Irish father and Papua New Guinean mother, whether she remains tied to Australia before next year's World Cup remains unknown.
Matildas coach Alen Stajcic revealed on Thursday that the exciting striker had turned down a spot in his squad to play Chile on Nov. 10 and 13.
"A little bit disappointing, I have to say," the coach said. "She's in England training with a specialist sprint coach that was working with Cristiano Ronaldo, doing that now and trialling with some clubs over there."
Fowler's brother Quivi, 19, and sister Ciara, 17, have previously represented the country of their birth Ireland at youth level, but the talented family was raised in Cairns and are on Football Federation Australia's radar.
Quivi is now with second-tier Dutch club FC Dordrecht, having spent time in the youth system of Eredivisie outfit Vitesse.
"They've lived an alternative lifestyle, if you'd like to call it that, over the last couple of years and the father has a whole family he's trying to look after and protect and foster their growth on and off the field," Stajcic said.
"We don't know if that path's the right one or the wrong one, but she's certainly come a long way on and off the field as a person and we have to give them that space to do what they have to do.
"She is 15 years old; for me it's a little bit disappointing but she's under her father's wing at the moment and I wish her and her family all the best."
Unlike Fowler, Kerr will return for the Matildas in a near full-strength line-up to play Chile.
Stajcic included the Perth striker, as well as fellow regulars Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond, Lydia Williams and Katrina Gorry in the 20-player squad announced on Thursday.
Encouraged by what he saw from his young side, Stajcic will welcome back his stars -- who were either carrying niggles or rested -- while also retaining the likes of Princess Ibini-Isei and Amy Sayer who both impressed on tour.
Kyah Simon (ankle) and Hayley Raso (back) are among the few key players still on the injury list, with Stajcic not willing to guarantee anyone a spot ahead of next June's World Cup in France.
"There's a lot of water to go under that bridge," he said.
"All the players picked in the last World Cup and Olympic Games got picked on form.
"Whether that's a large portion of this team or not I couldn't answer that question today."
The Matildas will enter camp on Monday, with experienced forward Michelle Heyman and defender Kennedy both in the mix for game time as they continue their comeback from injury.
The coach said Chile, currently sitting 39th in the rankings, would present a solid test ahead of the World Cup in France next year.
"We haven't played too many South American teams ... it's great experience coming up against a different style of play," he said.
"With the draw for the tournament being held next month, it is vital that we continue to play and familiarise ourselves with a diverse range of opponents.
"They [Chile] will be a great challenge for us, but in front of large, vocal home crowds in Penrith and Newcastle I expect us to perform strongly."
Full Matildas squad:
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Lydia Williams
Defenders: Laura Alleway, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Ellie Carpenter
Midfielders: Tameka Butt, Alex Chidiac, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Sayer, Emily Van Egmond
Forwards: Larissa Crummer, Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Michelle Heyman, Princess Ibini-Isei, Sam Kerr