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Fowler proves point to City with Matildas starring role

Anna HarringtonAAP
Mary Fowler's big night with the Matildas was topped by a meeting with Olympic great Cathy Freeman. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconMary Fowler's big night with the Matildas was topped by a meeting with Olympic great Cathy Freeman. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Mary Fowler has finished Australia's matches against Uzbekistan with two goals, an assist, her 50th Matildas cap, qualification for her second Olympics and a happy snap with Cathy Freeman.

Now coach Tony Gustavsson hopes the young star's performances - and those of some of her teammates - have also delivered a pointed message to clubs leaving some of his Matildas stars on the outer.

Manchester City youngster Fowler and out-of-favour Real Madrid winger Hayley Raso both scored in Wednesday night's 10-0 thumping.

Fowler pulled the strings while scoring in Saturday night's 3-0 win in Tashkent

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Then Olympics legend Freeman was among those watching on as Fowler was at the heart of everything in Melbourne, including notching a goal and assist, before catching up with the young gun post-match.

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But the 21-year-old hasn't started a league game at City since October, with a total of just 75 minutes across the club's past five Women's Super League fixtures.

Fellow young gun Kyra Cooney-Cross has also had to deal with a lack of league game time at Arsenal, but played both full Matildas games.

"As a national team coach, you obviously are not in control of that whether it's a loan or getting playing time - that's a player selection and the clubs do it," Gustavsson said.

"But what I am very, very impressed about is that there's a lot of players that have lacked minutes coming into this environment but they still perform and that's a credit to the player and also a credit to our environment.

"Because when you come into this environment with maybe a lack of minutes and form and lack of confidence, you're valued, you trust the team and trust the tactics, and you're able to perform with limited minutes.

"That also makes me a little bit less concerned because I know they can still deliver a performance in here.

"Would I love them to get more minutes? Of course, because that's how players grow and get better.

"Club coaches watch international games and I think a lot of our players with these two performances send some very clear messages back to clubs that, 'I want to play'."

Alanna Kennedy, who is Fowler's City teammate, wasn't surprised at the 21-year-old's star turn.

"It's an exciting time for her, for all of us, to come back," Kennedy said.

"To be able to play in front of Aussie fans and to play for the Matildas, ... we just love it.

"So for her, I'm sure she's so comfortable and just feels the freedom to be able to express herself on the pitch, regardless of whether she's had the minutes at City or not, at club.

"But she's just an unbelievable player and I think whenever she gets an opportunity she's always gonna create something in any game that she plays. She's an unbelievable talent."

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