Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr believes the return of Kim Little gives her side a huge boost ahead of the vital 2019 World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Poland. The Arsenal midfielder hasn’t played for her country for more than a year following an anterior cruciate ligament injury last May.
Both Switzerland and Scotland have maximum points from their opening Group 2 games, but the Swiss have played four and Scotland two. Thursday’s game is easily the most meaningful so far, while Scotland host Poland, who have six points from three games, in Paisley a week on Tuesday.
“Kim is the vice-captain, that’s the first thing,” Kerr said. “She has a huge role to play and has been a long time out. To have a player of her magnitude creates an even more stimulating environment.
“She’s as good as anyone in her position in my opinion. I’ve seen her grow and evolve ever since she broke into the Scotland Under-15 side at the age of 13 and then when she joined Hibs and Arsenal as still a very young player.
“What you see now is a real all-round midfielder who plays with a lot of maturity. It’s only our absence from big tournaments, and her missing the Euros, which means she maybe hasn’t had the world-wide plaudits she deserves.”
Slightly worryingly for Kerr, her star player is one of ten in the squad who are playing for their English clubs in the FA WSL today. The head coach will be hoping all of them come through unscathed.
Four – Manchester City’s Jen Beattie, Jane Ross and Claire Emslie, and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert – have punishing club and international schedules over the next two months. Both English clubs qualified for the Champions League semi-finals in midweek.
Scotland and Switzerland met seven times between 2006 and 2011, the Swiss losing four and failing to win even once. But they have improved massively since former German internationalist Martina Voss-Tecklenberg took over in 2012.