Jess Fishlock: Most-capped player will carry on for Wales

Venue: Rodney Parade Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2020 Kick-off: 19:10 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales & via the red button, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Jessica Fishlock will not retire from international football despite the likelihood of Wales missing out on the European Championships in 2022.

In a timely boost for Jayne Ludlow’s side, Fishlock says she is motivated to continue playing for Wales.

“I have no intention of retiring at this moment,” the 33-year old said.

Fishlock is set to win her 120th cap when Wales host Belarus in their final Euro qualifier of a campaign elongated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle Reign midfielder, on loan at WSL side Reading, missed the first half of qualifying after spending almost a year out with a knee injury that saw her ponder quitting the game entirely.

“I feel good and I have only just got back into playing. My body feels better than it did before in truth – I think a little bit of rest did me some good,” she told BBC Sport Wales.

“And mentally, physically and emotionally I am still 100% here with this group and with Wales and until that changes I am always going to be available for my country.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s where I am at.”

Wales’ hopes of reaching a play-off berth for the Euros rest on the Faroe Islands producing a shock result against Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland are set to advance ahead of Wales as group C runners-up by virtue of a superior head-to-head record. The away goals rule favours Northern Ireland, who drew 2-2 in Wales before a 0-0 draw in the return fixture in Belfast.

Wales’ goal difference is 13 goals better than Northern Ireland’s and Fishlock hopes goal difference will be adopted sooner rather than later in qualification for major finals in the women’s game.

“I don’t understand why goal difference is not used,” she said.

“It is something that was in place years ago to make sure the strongest teams went through, but women’s football has progressed massively, so I feel it needs to be looked at.

“But at the end of the day they are the rules and congratulations to Northern Ireland, we have to look at ourselves and make sure we don’t do this again.”

On her decision to carry on playing as Wales target a place at the 2023 World Cup, Fishlock says she is excited by the growing strength in Ludlow’s squad, who can learn from the experience of being in contention for qualification until the final game in successive campaigns.

“I was speaking to Sophie Ingle and we were saying that we feel this is a really good squad right now and probably the best group of 18 to 22 players that we have had collectively for a long time,” Fishlock added.

“A lot of that comes from the youth and Jayne has done a great job of bringing through players that quite frankly can start to play right now and it will be up to us as senior players to be here to support them with that transition. It is exciting.”


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