Ladies star back in Northern Ireland squad.
Sunderland WFC midfielder Sarah McFadden says she is delighted to have been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for next month’s friendly with the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
McFadden hasn’t played for her country since a 2-0 defeat against Belgium in September 2012 after injury ruled her out of both the Cyprus Cup and also first-team action at club level.
However a late run of form on her return from injury, which has seen her score four goals in the Lady Black Cats’ final four games, has seen the Magherafelt-born player recalled.
And McFadden hopes for a positive result in Telstar’s TATA Steel Stadium as the women’s game continues to grow in Northern Ireland.
“I haven’t played much for Sunderland or my country in recent months due to injury so it’s pleasing to be back,” McFadden explained.
“We’re a young side compared to the likes of England and we have a smaller pool of players so it’s hard for us as a squad, but we’ve picked up some results we really shouldn’t have.
“Over the last five years things have really developed and after we got a few results both the FA and general public began to give us more recognition.”
McFadden has been with Sunderland for three years and has been part of a Lady Black Cats side that has won three consecutive FA Women’s Premier League titles.
And the 25-year-old says this season’s triumph was as hard as ever as Mick Mulhern’s side prepare for life in the Women’s Super League (WSL) next season.
“I was one of the players to benefit from us picking up so many injuries towards the end of the season,” she added.
“It was great to be playing again and to chip in with a few goals as well was equally pleasing.
“It’s been harder than ever but we’ve got a winning mentality here and that has often driven us forward.”
Sunderland will ply their trade in WSL2 next season and, as the women’s game continues to grow, McFadden says the opportunity to play at the elite level of ladies football will benefit everyone involved.
“It’s the next step for us,” McFadden said. “It’s a more professional set-up and it’ll be nice for all the people who have worked hard as volunteers to sit back and watch their daughters play.
“We’ll train more which will benefit the younger girls like Beth Mead and Keira Ramshaw because had we not got the licence they would be looking to move on to a higher level.
“We play international qualifiers as well so we will have a busy schedule but that can only be good for the women’s game.
“I can see the change from 2005 when I started out and its massive - the younger girls don’t know how lucky they are.”