‘I’m giving every player a chance until the very last minute’ – Ireland manager Vera Pauw

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw with the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Seán O'Connor

Ireland manager Vera Pauw insists she will give every player a chance of making her World Cup squad ‘until the very last minute’, but says there will be no new recruits for the tournament.

Ahead of their first major finals, Pauw has drafted in the likes of Manchester United's Aoife Mannion and former US underage cap Sinead Farrelly in recent months to strengthen her squad.

But with Ireland facing co-hosts Australia in Sydney in the group opener 10 weeks today, and home friendlies against Zambia and France lined up before they travel Down Under, the Ireland boss says every player will have the opportunity to prove their worth in the forthcoming weeks before she settles on her final 23-player squad.

“I’m giving every player a chance until the very last minute,” said Pauw, speaking as the Women’s World Cup Trophy visited Dublin yesterday.

“I keep my mind open because every player deserves to be judged on the best performance they have shown, and maybe she has not shown that yet. So I force myself to remain open every single week. Every player gets a chance until the last moment.

“Everyday, I do that. On Tuesday, I made all the notes of this week, and we discussed it with the staff. That brings us all to focus on giving every player the biggest chance. To not take early decisions. We’ve got 50 players to discuss every week.”

When Pauw settles on her final squad, likely before facing France on July 6, she will have to inform those who didn’t make the cut, and said, “That will never be easy. I know that I will be destroying dreams, I hate my job at that moment.”

“Not yet, there’s nobody else,” Pauw added, when asked if there would be any new faces coming into the squad for this summer’s finals.

“We have players who come to the home-based sessions, but they are not for now, they are more for the future.”

Pauw also defended the pricing of the new Women’s National Team season tickets, which went on sale last week at €90 for adults, €40 for children, with a family ticket also available for €240.

Ireland’s two pre-World Cup friendlies are included, as well as the Nations League games against Northern Ireland, Hungary and Albania later this year, with the new prices more expensive compared to tickets which were sold on a match-by-match basis in previous campaigns.

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Pointing to research done in the area, Pauw insists the higher prices will translate into higher attendances at Tallaght Stadium, rather than lower numbers coming through the turnstiles.

“Fantastic, 1300 (sold) already in a few days,” said the Ireland boss.

“What I do remember is when the ticket prices are low, we had 1000 people not turning up (against Finland last September). I think that’s the key issue. It’s about turning up.

“We’ll see how it goes, but we think we are worth the money. At least that’s what I’ve heard when I’ve asked about it. We need to get the stadium full, people do not turn up if it’s too cheap.”

“I think it is a very reasonable price. It [game v Finland] was sold out and there were so many girls and parents who wanted to see the game but couldn’t enter the stadium. We’ll try to see if this helps. The money that’s coming in, it’s not going into any pockets other than the development of the game.”

As the finals loom, Pauw hopes her squad can make the Irish public proud at their first major tournament.

“Everybody feels we’re now making that last real step to do something at the World Cup. What that is, we will see because the others [teams] have so much more experience.

“But we want to make Ireland proud. We want Ireland to see we have done everything we can to give the best performance we can. At the end of the games we will see if that is good enough to surprise the world. The key thing is that Ireland is proud of the way we show ourselves.”

Ireland will also play a behind-closed-doors friendly against another nation on July 14 in their training base of Brisbane, six days before taking on Australia in the Group B opener.