Heyman ready to lead Australia’s attack against Mexico

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She played her role as a fan during last year’s Women’s World Cup, but now Michelle Heyman is ready to inspire the Matildas on the field by leading Australia’s attack at the Paris Olympics.

Selected in the national squad for the first time since 2018 for February’s Olympic qualifiers against Uzbekistan, the 35-year-old Canberra United striker made the most of her recall, scoring five goals across two legs as the Matildas won 13-0 on aggregate to book their spot at the upcoming Paris Games.

“My life’s changed a lot, especially after those last games,” Heyman said ahead of Australia’s friendly international against Mexico on Wednesday (AEST) in Texas.

“It’s the best feeling. I just feel so lucky, so privileged and so honoured to be a part of this squad.

“It means the world to me, and it’s just so nice to be back in this environment, and doing the thing that I love.”

Heyman knew while watching the Matildas reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on home soil last year that she had some unfinished business to take care of at international level.

“You wear different hats because you want to support the team, so that was my role for that World Cup, to make sure that I was one of the loudest in the stands, cheering, screaming and just wanting the best for every single player out there,” she said.

“I’m super proud of all the girls that were able to be in that squad, but from the stands it’s a very different view, and that also allowed me to be here (back in the squad) today because it fuelled me. I knew what I missed out on.

“My goal is the Olympics.”

Not that Heyman is taking Games selection for granted despite her good form and the Matildas needing an out-an-out goalscorer in the injury-enforced absence of superstar Sam Kerr

Coach Tony Gustavsson told her as much before the two games against Uzbekistan.

“I knew what he wanted out of me. His goal for me was to just get in the box and score goals, and that I can do,” Heyman said.

“When I don’t really have too many things to think about, it makes life simple. I’m going to be pushing for that (Olympics) squad.

“I’m going to be doing everything that I can to get into that team, but right now, my main focus is this camp, and to make sure that I’m physically fit and ready to go against Mexico.

“Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I’ll do, and I’ll try my best and be the best team player that I can be.”

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