Matilda Clare Wheeler (Photo: The Matildas)

Currently in her second season in the Women’s Super League, Matilda Clare Wheeler attributes her growth in the game to Everton.

Clare Wheeler was loaned to Everton in the Women’s Super League (WSL) in August of 2022, after this stint, she was rewarded with a permanent position at the club.

The 26-year-old describes the development and growth that she has undergone while at the English club.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Everton,” Wheeler said.

“I think for me for me as a player it’s definitely developed both my technical and tactical ability and also helped me build my confidence being up against some of the best players in the world week-in [and] week-out.

“It’s definitely helped my confidence going into the national team environment and seeing those players again and knowing I have the ability to run stride for stride with them.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to play and develop my game there.”

Sitting ninth on the WSL table, Everton have shown mixed form this season so far. Out of the 14 games played, they have won only four with two draws and eight losses, Wheeler reflected on their season.

“My season has been up and down this year at Everton, but through all of it I’ve played and had to fill in the wing-back position [due] to injury,” she said.

“Coming into the new year I’m back into the midfield, which obviously I love, but that’s something that happens as a footballer sometimes, is you will have to play sometimes in different positions and [with] different tactics.

“As long as I’m on the park and around the team, that’s what I enjoy the most, just contributing to Everton. We’ve got quite a few games to go, so our eyes are on making sure we can do the best with what we can.”

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While playing in her preferred position as a midfielder for the Matildas, Wheeler will be included in the midfield mix which also boasts Aivi Luik, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Sayer, Emily Van Egmond and Tameka Yallop.

She explained her role in that mix and the strengths she brings to Tony Gustavsson’s squad.

“I would consider myself as someone who’s composed and who likes to win the ball back,” Wheeler continued.

“I think it’s one of my strengths that’s kind of what transferred me out to playing full-back and it’s somewhere I’ve had to fill in even at U20s level.

“It’s something I take pride in, is winning the ball back for my team and I think that’s where I come in but we all have many different strengths and attributes and I think we all compliment each other and the team as a whole.”

Making her Matildas debut in 2021, Wheeler has now notched up 18 caps for her country. With a big 2023 behind the team, she talked about her favourite moments from the past year, which included her first goal in the green and gold.

“[One of my favourite moments from last year was] scoring my first Tillies goal, in Australia as well, but I think obviously the World Cup [was up there],” she said.

“Just seeing the amount of support for the Matildas and women’s football in general was incredible and continually selling-out stadiums for women’s football was also incredible and the viewership and everything around that.

“I think a lot of younger players have been inspired to take up the game and I think that’s wonderful and it’s always something that will stick with me going forward.”

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