Sam Kerr’s fitness to play in the Matildas’ glamorous match against England has remained shrouded in mystery after manager Tony Gustavsson refused to say whether his star striker was injured.

Following Australia’s 1-0 loss to Scotland at the AFC Wimbledon home of Plow Lane on Friday, Gustavsson looked uneasy when asked if Kerr was actually injured.

“I can’t comment on that so I’m going to keep it close to my chest from now on – yeah, I’ll pass that one,” said the Swede, who will need all of Kerr’s gifts. in front of goal to prevent his side’s final warm-ups away before July’s World Cup ended in defeats.


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Kerr had underlined on Thursday how eager she was to play against England for the first time in her career, and Gustavsson was not ruling out the possibility that she could have the chance to add to her 62 international goals in the game highly anticipated Tuesday in Brentford. .

“If I guess today, I guess she will be available, but that’s just speculation,” said Gustavsson, whose side will face an English side who haven’t lost in 30 matches while winning the European title.

“So I have to talk to the sports science and medicine staff and Sam herself, and see where she is on Tuesday – but I know she would love to play.”

The coach made it look like Kerr could even have been brought on in the later stages against Scotland after his understudy failed to hit the target in response to Nicola Docherty’s bizarre looping strike in the 47th minute.

“Of course I have to admit it was a temptation to bring her in. It itches me and it itches Sam, but we had agreed in a long chat last night that the best thing for her was to rest this one against Scotland,” Gustavsson said.

“She is coming out of an extremely difficult playing environment at Chelsea with back-to-back games every week for almost two months.

“This is an overview. If it was me 15 years ago as a young, inexperienced coach thinking the short-term result is what matters, I probably would have played it and risked the big picture.

“But now, with a bit more experience, understanding there’s a bigger picture, I don’t want to win at the expense of sacrificing and risking the health of key players.”

Ahead of Friday’s game, Kerr could be seen on the touchlines appearing to move a little cautiously, with Chelsea no doubt desperate that she was in no way risked ahead of a host of key FA Cup and Champions League fixtures. semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League while as well as the Women’s Super League.

But without the firepower of Kerr and the injured trio of Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik and Kyah Simon on Friday, the Matildas seemed to be short on striking quality, save for a sharp-looking Cortnee Vine, who hit the bar with one shot and should have converted another.

“I think the forwards did a terrific job on the defensive end; on the forward side, we struggled to activate them well enough,” Gustavsson said.

There was, however, plenty of quality on show from full-back Ellie Carpenter, back in an Australian shirt for the first time in a year after her ACL rupture.

“Ellie brings a lot of confidence and energy to our team and our backline,” said captain Clare Polkinghorne.

“She’s a very aggressive player, she likes to push forward and she’s really hard to deal with, so it’s really nice to see her back and have her back in camp. It’s a big shot.” thumbs up for us.”

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