Kyah Simon celebrates her goal against the USA. (Photo: The Matildas)

CommBank Matildas star Kyah Simon will put her hand up to take on France in their ‘send-off’ match at Marvel Stadium next Friday night. This signals the return of the veteran, eight months after an ACL injury.

The news of her selection comes after months on the sidelines, after sustaining an ACL injury playing for Tottenham in the Women’s Super League last October. 

Simon says that the rehabilitation process was tough and her eventual selection in the World Cup squad was a weight lifted off of her shoulders. 

“Knowing what I had gone through for those eight months day-in, day-out, it wasn’t a smooth-sailing [rehabilitation],” she said. 

“There were definitely ups and downs and for it to finally come to a head, and obviously achieve that goal I set when I underwent the surgery was [a] massive relief.”  

Many were surprised by her inclusion in the 23-player squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but coach Tony Gustavsson says that the New South Welshman has been picked due to her ‘game-changing’ ability.  

“I don’t expect her to start the game,” he said.

“I don’t think she’s going to be ready for that, but being a game changer off the bench to change the game when needed, that’s why she is selected.” 

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Now a three-time World Cup squad member, Simon is set to embrace this role, stating that she would rather play this role than be left out altogether. 

“I’d much prefer to be in the squad and have that ‘game-changer’ role, rather than wanting to be a starter and then not even being in the squad,” she said.

“For me, it’s just a different approach and I have at different tournaments had that role of being a game changer so I’m not new to that.

“Ultimately, I want to do whatever is best for the team in terms of whatever that role is for me. 

With 111 international caps to her name, Simon says that she wants to be selected based on merit, not due to her wealth of experience.  

“I had the relief of being named in the squad, but I said to Tony, even when he told me ‘I’m not expecting a free ticket and I don’t expect a free ticket for what I’ve done in the past at World Cups and goals I’ve scored or the type of player I am,’” she said.

“I want to be there because I want to feel like I deserve to be there and I’m in form.”

The Matildas begin their World Cup campaign at Australia Stadium against Ireland on the 20th July.  

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