Ireland international Chloe Mustaki admits it will be “hard to accept” if players who played a role in Ireland’s successful World Cup qualifcation miss out on the squad for the tournament in favour of recruits new to the Irish set-up.
Mustaki (27) has been out of action with club Bristol City since December with an injury which was only recently diagnosed as a serious groin problem. She has postponed plans to undergo surgery this week hoping that a spell of intensive rehab can get her back in action before the end of the club season next month.
In her absence at the last international camp, boss Vera Pauw handed debuts to three players who are involved with Ireland for the first time and the arrival on the Ireland scene of new faces is an issue for Pauw to deal with.
“If we want women’s football in Ireland to grow, that’s the hit that some of us are going to have to take,” says Mustaki. “There is a difference between showing an interest in playing pre-qualification, we’d love to have those. It’s a bit harder to accept people who may only be looking to play for Ireland now.
“I feel that Vera has to pick her best 23, and that’s sport, but there is always going to be sentiment there, a lot of us worked very hard to contribute to qualification.”