Jess Fishlock was an integral part of Melbourne Victory’s surprise run to the grand final last year and if her season debut on the weekend is any gauge she is again set to be prominent.
A dynamic all-action midfielder who is equally effective with or without the ball, Fishlock was one of the standout players in last year’s Westfield W-League season. It was little surprise that she turned in a big-hearted performance on her return to Victory colours on Sunday as the Melbournians secured a 3-1 win at Perth Glory.
Despite having travelled across the globe in the preceding days and then over to Perth, Fishlock was at her inspirational best in the middle of the park in the midday Perth sun. Now captain of Wales, Fishlock returns to the competition with her reputation even further enhanced after starring for Seattle Reign in the inaugural season of USA’s National Women’s Soccer League.
The Cardiff-born 26–year-old has spent the past few months since the end of the US season turning out for Glasgow City which included appearances in the UEFA Women’s Champions League against English super club Arsenal.
So how you are feeling following all that travel in the past few days and 90 minutes in the hot Perth sun?
Well, I’m glad we have a rest day today, and it probably needs more to be more than one day to be honest. It was very difficult with the heat. It felt hotter than I remember I have to say. I have forgotten how hot it can be. I sat back a little deeper in the second half to save my legs with us in front.
You have had a big 12 months, do you think you have improved as a player in that time?
Yes, I have learnt a lot more about the game. I played with a lot of really good players in the States which was a lot of fun. I had a great time and I’m glad I did it, and I’m looking forward to going back again.
How have enjoyed playing for Wales in World Cup qualifying in your first campaign as skipper?
It’s been really good. I love playing for Wales and I love captaining my country. The whole purpose of going to Glasgow was with the World Cup qualifiers in mind.
Have you allowed yourself to dream just a lit bit about qualifying for the World Cup?
We have won two out of three which isn’t bad, but I’m realistic enough to know it will be tough. But we are in a good position, so we just have to try and hold that.
You had to leave before the end of last season and missed the grand final, but did you manage to watch the match?
I wasn’t able to watch it but I did keep in touch. I think the girls did so well to get there, and it’s a shame they couldn’t get over the line.
So do think you can go one better this season?
Yes we can. We have a very young side and lack experiences in some areas, but we definitely have a team capable of doing so.