21/02/2024

Alex Chidiac has been praised by her former teammate.

A star European FIFA Women’s World Cup international attacker has urged Tony Gustavsson to give her former teammate Alex Chidiac more minutes as the Matildas face a nervous must-win game against Canada on Monday night.

Rikke Madsen, a forward with the current Denmark World Cup team and former teammate of Alex Chidiac with the A-League side the Melbourne Victory, admitted that Chidiac should be awarded more minutes against Canada rather than entering the game at the 84th-minute mark, praising her game against Nigeria late last week.

A fan favourite, Chidiac was impressive in limited minutes against Nigeria in the final stages of the match but unfortunately could not make much of an impact as she was brought on too late by Gustavsson.

“I watched the game. I was so happy for her when she was coming on,” Madsen told this masthead.

“She’s a fantastic player, like when she dribbles, she just has that extra drive. So, a really cool player to play with.”

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While the 24-year-old has 28 international caps to her name, she has never started under the coaching arrival of Tony Gustavsson- only being given more than 30 minutes as a substitution twice before.

There has been much controversy about how Gustavsson has used his tactical substitutions in the tournament, failing to bring them on until the match’s final stages. Against Nigeria, Chidiac injected energy into the match immediately but revealed that she could have had more of an impact if she was brought on earlier.

“I think that’s every player sitting on the bench,” Chidiac said of thoughts that she could have been an earlier game-changer after the game against Nigeria in Brisbane.

“You always want to get on the field and help the team out.

“You never go against what the coach says. He knows what he’s doing, clearly, and he’s got a game plan and all of us follow that.

“We’re all one team, at the end of the day, and whatever role I have to play in this World Cup, I’m going to play at the best of my ability.”

Conceding that Chidiac should have been awarded more minutes, it is likely that Gustavsson will bring her on earlier than he has previously done. The reigning Julie Dolan medal winner has earned the hearts of Australia, and there will be an outroar if she doesn’t get the minutes she deserves.

As the Matildas need a win to advance to the Round of 16, the same can not be said for their opponents Canada who only need a draw to progress. Due to this, the reigning Olympic Gold Medallists are likely to limit the amount of space the likes of Cortnee Vine and Hayley Raso have in attack.

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