Stajcic confident van Egmond will be right

Westfield Young Matildas coach Alen Stajcic is confident that teen sensation Emily van Egmond will be right for Augusts’ AFC U/20 Women’s Championship that is being held in China.

Westfield Young Matildas coach Alen Stajcic is confident that teen sensation Emily van Egmond will be right for Augusts- AFC U/20 Women-s Championship that is being held in China.

The highly talented midfielder suffered a foot injury while training with the Westfield Matildas in January, but Stajcic is hopeful she will start training again in mid-April and be near full fitness by the time the tournament starts on August 2 against Japan.

Stajcic, a former NSL player and current Sydney FC W-League coach, believes van Egmond is a vital cog for this team, which he believes will do well in China and hopefully qualify for the 2010 FIFA U/20 Women-s World Cup in Germany.

“We-re hoping Emily will be training and up and about by next month and hopefully by May, she will be back to full training,” Stajcic said from the Westfield Young Matildas camp that was held in Canberra over the weekend. “That still gives us a couple of months for her to get fit and 100%.

“She is a critical player in our team. You obviously never know when people are going to get injured and how they are going to respond to the rehab and re-training, but if all goes according to plan, she will definitely be in the squad.”

Stajcic believes the squad is shaping up quite nicely and following the draw (for the AFC Championships) the players are responding in a positive; confident way.

“The squad is shaping up, quite good actually,” he said. “We had a camp 2-3 weeks ago and the players performed really well.

“We got the draw (for the AFC U/20 Women-s Championship) during the camp as well and saw who we had to play and they played really well during the camp. So there is a new sense of confidence around the place now.”

With only three days a month to work with the players, Stajcic knows that this time with them is vitally important and also shows him which players are physically and mentally ready.

“The main things we work on are team structures and patterns of play. We don-t have a lot of time together; we only have three days every month, so team patterns of play are the main things.

“Each time we come in, we do a quick refresher on the last camp and then try and build and improve upon on the stuff we did in the camp before.

“Defensively and offensively we need to get the structure right, so we know each other-s roles; so we are all on the same page when we go away.”

Stajcic also acknowledged the role the Westfield W-League has had on the squad, with he and his coaching staff able to see which girls can compete against the best in the country and for unearthing a couple of players for the squad.

“One it-s helped me identify a couple of players,” he replied when asked about the benefits of the Westfield W-League. “There are 2-3 that weren-t in the squad previously and have been chosen purely on their performances in the W-League; they being Courtney Beutel and Trudy Camilleri.

“For the others it showed us (the coaching staff) how good they are against senior players; against the best players in the country. Some of the players that weren-t necessarily starters in this team, played a lot game time and showed what they can do, while there were others, who didn-t play that much and it-s going to be hard work for them to get in the squad now, so it showed a lot of things.”

The Westfield Young Matildas are currently preparing for the AFC U/20 Women-s Championship in August.

The team will play Japan first up and then host nation China PR, with the final game being against Chinese Taipei. The top two will go through to the semi finals, with the likely top three teams (not yet confirmed by AFC) going to the World Cup finals in Germany.