Press conference

Foord on Walti, PSG and Australia: transcript

We're now just days away from returning to Women's Champions League action.

And ahead of our quarter-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain in San Sebastian, Caitlin Foord sat down to address the assembled media in a virtual press conference. 

Here's everything she said ahead of the game:

on how strange this last few months have been for her...
As you said, it is weird playing the FA Cup game, the Conti Cup game and now the Champions League game, and not making my debut in the league yet. It's a bit weird and it's a bit odd because that's not normally the way things go. Obviously with the lockdown situation and all that, it is a very unique situation but I've just been trying to make the most of it and take what's been happening as it comes. I think the lockdown period, if anything, gave me the opportunity to almost integrate into the team a bit more. Without being around the team, it definitely feels like I'm more involved in the team now than I was before which is strange because we weren't training or anything like that. Despite what the situation's been, it's actually been a good outcome in the sense of feeling part of the team, moving forward. With the Champions League game, these are games that as a club player, that's the highest game you can play. I'm just really looking forward to the challenge and experiencing it with the team.

on how important Lia Walti has been so far...
Having two Aussies over to start off with is always familiar to have, and nice to have two familiar faces around. Just having two Aussies is nice because I'm not the only one anymore. But living with Lia has helped me massively, coming into the team, and I'm very fortunate and thankful. During the lockdown period, she was living alone, I was living alone and her having a spare room, she invited me to move in with her. Just being able to train with her, because you could only train with your household, and to have company was great because it would've been a very, very long team to be by myself. I got to know her and a lot of the girls more on a personal level through her as well. That definitely helped me integrate into the team and get to know the players on a personal level, which at times can take a little bit longer normally in the season.

on whether they watched video analysis of PSG last week...
We've definitely started. With them having a recent game against Lyon as well, it was a good game just to see. The coaching staff have had a lot of time during lockdown to prepare for this game and make us familiar with what we're going into and where we think we can exploit the game, where we have to be careful as well. We've definitely been working on that and that's going to put us in the best shape possible heading into the game. 

on how important this competition is to the group...
For me personally, coming to a team that's already made the steps they needed to take to get to where we are, it's a bit of a weird situation. But the team's worked extremely hard to get to where we are now and moving forward, with how the season finished last year, we know we don't qualify for the Champions League next year. We know in our minds that we have to win this thing to still be in the Champions League, which is massive for us. As footballers you want to be playing in the Champions League, so that definitely gives us something to drive towards but in saying that, you don't need too much motivation to get up for it and be excited for those games. On top of that, we haven't played football in such a long time that it's even more exciting to have a game because we haven't had a competitive game in a very long time. It makes that even more exciting and a bit more special. 

on whether it puts more pressure on us...
Yeah I guess in a way it does but I don't think we're going to focus too much on that. Once you start thinking about these things, that's the worst thing you can do. For us, it's just thinking that this is the first game so go out there, we've done all the work we needed to do to get us there, now it just comes down to the day. As I said before, just to get out there and play football is exciting. With it being a Champions League game, it makes it even more exciting.

03:28

Women: Arsenal 8-0 Slavia Prague (Highlights)

 

on playing in hot conditions...
It's going to be extremely hot and fortunately enough in the UK we've had a bit of a heatwave these last couple of weeks, which has been good for us to train in and prepare a little bit. What Arsenal's been lacking before is the depth in the squad, in the sense of people being injured and having an unlucky run. But, touch wood, right now everyone's fit and healthy and the depth is really strong. I think heading into this game, that's one thing we could hope to have. We've not played in a while and the game possibly going to extra-time and penalties, that's where this will play a really key role in this game and even further into the tournament as well. That's reassuring and promising to know that everyone's there, everyone's fit and everyone's ready to go. 

on Paris Saint-Germain...
We've seen them and we know they're a young, quick, powerful team. That's something we've been aware of and watching them against Lyon, you've seen the effect they have on teams as well. For us, that's something we have to be aware of but we just want to focus on ourselves and our style of football. On the day, it's going to be whatever team is the best team and it's a challenge we're excited for. 

on which PSG players they need to look out for...
To be honest we haven't focused too much on individuals. As a whole, they have a load of good players but when you start focusing on individuals, that's when you start losing what you have. We want to focus on us, our playing style and we know they have quality players, but we have a lot as well. I think it's going to be a good, competitive game and I'm just excited to be there and to be involved.

on what the attraction is to the WSL for Australians...
There's a lot of us over here, I don't know if there's too many more to come. If they're not here in the UK, they're here in Europe. I think it's good and we've all kind of had a similar path in our football career and for the last few years we've been doing seasons back to back with Australia and America. I think it's just come around the same time, that for all of us it's time for a change. With European football at the level it's at and the English league making massive strides as well, I think that was very attractive to us. Everyone made this move individually and it's all just happened at the same time, so that just comes back to where we're at. To play for one club and be in one place, we've never had that before. It was only a matter of time before I was going to come here, I just didn't know when it felt right. Arsenal felt like the right move and being here now, it definitely feels like that even more. To have Steph and Lyds around as well, familiar faces, these are two players I've never played with before at club level - only for the national team - so I'm excited to have them here at a club environment as well. 

on her memories of the Champions League growing up...
Honestly, I didn't grow up with football in the family or watching football, I just enjoyed playing it because I loved doing sports. That's how I got into football. For a very long time, I didn't even watch it I just played it. I'm not too familiar with the Champions League but now I'm older, more involved with football and enjoy watching it, I'm now watching the men's Champions League. Before now, I hadn't even watched the women's games because as you said with the time difference and all that, it's never been something that I've done at 3am. I normally enjoy the friends that I have playing and at that time I wasn't familiar with European players too much. There's not too much background for me with the Champions League to be honest.

on whether that gives her an advantage with less pressure...
I guess in a way it's that sense of being naive and not too sure. The pressure games, and this is definitely one of them, I haven't really experienced the massive hype behind it yet. I know it's a big game in my head but it's different when you've been watching it or growing up with it. It definitely plays a different role, for sure. 

on training with Steph and Lydia every day...
In a way, I've been playing with Steph since under-17s so for 10 years. We've known each other a very long time. I guess in a club environment you see them day in, day out and I know them pretty well as footballers so it's all about getting to know them as people as well. That's something I hadn't really had the chance to do. It's just good to have them around and they're always two players that I hated playing against in club football, so it's nice to have them finally on my team.

on the reaction to Australia securing the World Cup for 2023...
It's been massive. For us, it's been a process that we've been involved in to try to get the bid. I think it's been the last two years so we've seen all the people that have been involved in fighting to get the World Cup in Australia. It's just really rewarding and as a footballer, it's just something you would never think would happen to have a World Cup on home soil during your career. As you said, hopefully we're all fit and healthy and I'd say it would be a dream come true but I'm not sure it's something you ever dream of. I guess it exceeds that. To have all my family, friends and fans able to watch me on the world stage is very unique so it'll be very special for our country and everyone involved as well. 

on the Sydney Opera House sails being lit up with player pictures...
For us as players, that was so cool. You never think that you would be on something like that, especially the Opera House. It's pretty cool. We all enjoyed that and it's a bit weird not being there while it's happening, but for the girls that were there it's really special. You guys have probably seen the videos of when it got announced that we got it and the scenes in the office. It just shows how much it meant to everyone to have all that hard work pay off. I'm excited for the world to see Australia as well. It's a place that many nations don't get to see because we're so far away and you wouldn't just come all the way down there for a friendly. I'm really excited. 

on whether she wanted the No 9 shirt before Beth Mead was given it...
No, I don't think I have a leg to stand on there! I'm happy with my number and after two games I don't think I had any right to make claim for a shirt over players that have been here for years. If I want anyone to have it, it's Beth, so I'm happy for her.

on wearing the No 9 shirt previously...
I have but I've never been that person or player to think I can come in and demand things! I enjoy seeing it on Beth and then maybe she'll share it with me one day. 

on how useful the friendlies have been...
It's been massive for myself but also for the new players as well. There's quite a few of us so it's been good to get some minutes, but also to learn the philosophy and the style that we play at Arsenal. To become more familiar with that, to get more of an understanding of your team-mates and then for them to have a chance to understand you as a player which does take time. Obviously we're limited with time and with a lot of new players, it does take time but it is what it is and it's been good to get minutes, to have sessions and a good build-up to get a little bit more familiar. In an important, pressure game, that's where these things show so it'll be interesting to see how the team gels and how the game pans out. 

on how beneficial World Cup experience will be in this format...
I think that is massive, especially with the current situation. Normally you have these games to prepare for and also the home and away series as well, so it's not usually done in one game. I think it's even more important to have the experience. With the players in the team, I think almost everyone has had to play in a big match so I guess you can say that we've got big players and that will definitely come into play in this game. I think that will be important for us. 

on what changes when preparing for a one-off game rather than two legs...
I can only speak personally and I've never experienced a home and away series layout, so for me this feels normal to just have one game. But I'm sure for a lot of the girls who have been involved and have an experience of Champions League football, it might be a bit different for them. But they've all played in World Cups and that's how the tournament is formatted, and the Olympics too. In a way it might be strange but it's also something we're all very familiar with.

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