Alex Morgan is a “global superstar” and it would be “very silly” if she was left out of the United States Women’s World Cup squad, according to former team-mate Carly Telford.
The Stars and Stripes head to Australia and New Zealand in July aiming to land a third successive world title, having triumphed in 2015 and 2019, with 33-year-old Morgan hoping to feature at her fourth finals.
The San Diego Wave forward, who was also part of the side that were beaten by Japan in the 2011 final, will be desperate to be included in Vlatko Andonovski’s squad, and add to her impressive tally of 121 goals in 206 caps.
Former England goalkeeper Telford, who was part of the Lionesses’ squads that reached consecutive semi-finals in 2015 and 2019, knows Morgan well, having played alongside her in California before announcing her retirement in March.
Telford is adamant Morgan should not miss out on the finals.
“She’s huge,” Telford told Stats Perform. “Without Alex, I don’t think the game would get some of the recognition that it’s getting. I think she’s a global superstar.
“She performs on and off the pitch. She’s not just a footballer; she stands for quality, diversity, everything that is good about being a good person.
“She’ll fight for women’s rights to make sure that everyone has equal opportunities. She doesn’t have to do that; she could just turn up and play football.
“Spending time with her and being in a team with her for 12 months and realising the work that she does on and off the pitch, she’s an absolute ambassador to the game.
“She speaks so highly, so well about the game. I just hope she does go to the World Cup because she’s a superstar, and it would be sad if she didn’t. But I think she’s playing well enough, it would be very silly to leave her out.”
USA have been drawn alongside the Netherlands, Portugal and Vietnam in Group E, and face a potential last-16 encounter against either Sweden or Italy.
And though there is a slight veteran feel to the USA’s likely roster, Telford insists their World Cup pedigree means they will take some stopping once again, and feels their character on the big stage is epitomised by Lyon forward Lindsey Horan.
“They’re mentally monsters,” she added. “Everyone might be like ‘They’re not as good as they used to be, they’re ageing’.
“But I’ll tell you what, when they cross that white line, it doesn’t matter who they’re playing. They will fight, they will scrap, they will battle, they will try and play good football. But at the end of the day, they’re just ultimate winners.
“I think that when you’ve got someone like Lindsey on the pitch, she is the ultimate at that. She’ll break play up, she’ll bite, she’ll scrap, she’ll tackle, she’ll drive everyone around her.
“I just think when it comes to the Americans, when they get into competition mode; they’re just a different breed.”
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