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Nov 26, 2013

De Vanna bemused by Perry jealousy rumours

Outspoken Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna says she has no issues with dual international Ellyse Perry despite a media report she deliberately tried to injure Perry during a recent W-League fixture.

Perry was left needing six stitches following a heavy challenge by Melbourne Victory's De Vanna during a clash with Sydney FC earlier this month.

A media report claimed Victory players had sledged Perry, who has played internationally for the Matildas and Australia's women's cricket team, calling her "soft" and telling her to go back to cricket.

But De Vanna says nothing of the sort happened and Perry had just come off second-best when the combative Melbourne player went in for a tackle.

"There's no jealousy or trouble between us players and Ellyse Perry," De Vanna told AAP.

"None of that happened. There was no punching, there was no kicking, there was no sledging. The only incident that happened was a tackle and it wasn't the deliberate tackle that it's been made out to be.

"It was me playing hard. Me wanting to win. Things that happen in football that happen all around the world."

De Vanna said if Perry earned a recall to the Matildas she would welcome her with open arms, "just like any of my other teammates".

The 29-year-old has endured a rollercoaster few months, with her stunning bicycle kick during a National Women's Soccer League game in the United States giving her international exposure for the undoubted talent she possesses.

De Vanna's goal has been shortlisted alongside strikes by superstars such as Brazil's Neymar and Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic for FIFA's goal of the year prize in their annual end-of-year awards.

She was also named Australia's female player of the year before last weekend's 2-0 friendly win over China in Wollongong.

The Matildas will tackle the Chinese in a second match at Parramatta Stadium on Wednesday night as they continue their preparations for next year's Asian Cup in Vietnam.

Australia go to that tournament as defending champions and while De Vanna was part of the squad which won the country's first major international football prize in 2010, she missed the penalty shootout win in the final against North Korea due to a broken leg suffered earlier in the tournament.

After being expelled from a pre-World Cup training squad in 2011 for a "code of conduct breach", De Vanna says new coach Hesterine de Reus has brought a level of professionalism to the Matildas that has brought some of the joy back to representing her country.

"I have a lot of respect for Hesterine, she's given me a bit more a leadership role which I've never had anyone ever consider before," De Vanna said.

"She knows what she wants and it's up to us now to perform.

"It's great. I'm actually enjoying myself."


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