The end of Karly Roestbakken’s loan to Canberra United was one that ultimately ended in disappointment.
Win-loss aside, the 21-year-old has had to face the difficult reality of not being chosen in the Matildas’ Asia Cup side. She was confirmed as a travelling member of the squad, heading to Dubai as one of 25 to train.
But when the squad was announced just days out of the first game against Indonesia, Roestbakken’s name wasn’t in it. Young forwards Holly McNamara and Cortnee Vine were included instead.
It was her first stop on her way home, in what was a chaotic flight schedule back to Norway.
As she begins another pre-season with Norwegian club LSK Kvinner, a new mental challenge awaits her after she had surgery on her foot in 2021.
“Obviously, [missing selection], it’s so disappointing,” Roestbakken told media on Monday night.
“That was a big goal for me, coming back from injury to try and get into that squad. It’s really hard to break into an environment like that with the squad that is picked.
“I was just so grateful to be called into that camp and given an opportunity. I have been out for so long, and [Tony Gustavsson] has still bought me in, so I see that as a positive thing.
“Any coach would have [said] ‘you’re not fit enough so we’re not going to bring you in at all’, so I’m just grateful for that. It’s another roadblock I’ll get past.
“I know in myself I’m not 100 per cent there yet, and for a tournament like that you want to be in the best shape possible.”
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One of the main positives Roestbakken has taken out of her Canberra return has been taking the time to get consistency back into her legs.
Playing as a fullback and wingback, she played five games in green for 385 minutes, after playing just nine minutes across two games for LSK in 2021.
She became a crucial part of a Canberra defence lacking in wide players, and couldn’t speak more highly of her return to playing under coach Vicki Linton.
“I loved it, anyone who’s asked me I’ve said I had the best time down in Canberra,” Roestbakken admitted.
“We didn’t get the best results, and it’s not always fun to lose, but I loved being back home and I loved being in green.
“After having a long injury it’s hard to get back into the game, but I’ve never lost sight of my love for the game. Being back in green has made me enjoy it even more.
“That always helps with confidence as well. I think [Vicki] is a great coach, and she really helped me to get the minutes in my legs and get the flow back in as well.
“I know I have a long way to go with it, it takes more than just a few games… but I’m just so grateful she gave me that opportunity.”
The Toppserien returns on March 20 for Roestbakken’s LSK, at 10pm AEDT.
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