Katie McCabe is hoping to bring her eye-catching performances for Arsenal into the Republic of Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Finland.
The Dubliner, who turned 26 last month, has scored in three straight Women’s Super League matches and her long-range chip against Aston Villa and volley from the edge of the area against Everton have garnered plenty of attention online over the last weeks.
Now the Irish captain is hoping to dazzle in a green jersey as Vera Pauw’s side welcome world-number-two-ranked Sweden to Tallaght Stadium on Thursday before heading to Helsinki to face Finland on 26 October.
"I’m enjoying my football, of course," she told RTÉ Sport.
"It’s been a great start to the season with Arsenal. We’ve had back-to-back games so it’s been a pretty tight schedule but any form I have I’ll be looking to bring that into the Ireland games in the coming week, and hopefully I can help the team get over the line."
"I'm absolutely confident in this squad and what we are capable of. We worked on certain things in the Australia game and got the positive result. For us it’s about keeping that positivity going into this camp and getting to work and to prepare as best as we can."
Ireland's campaign was originally due to start in Tbilisi on 17 September but the FAI submitted a request to the Georgian Football Federation and UEFA to change the fixture due to the unavailability of several UK-based players due to Covid-19 restrictions.
While the Australia game proved a good substitute as it ended the team’s seven-game losing streak, it does mean that their first competitive match for the Australia-New Zealand tournament is against Group A’s heavy hitter.
"That’s what international football is all about, it’s testing yourself against the best," McCabe said.
"There is no better way than to start off than against Sweden. Obviously (there were) the frustrations last camp with Georgia, and we had to push it back, but for us to start our campaign off now against Sweden is really exciting.
"They’re one of the top teams in the world and I watched them over the course of the summer, the Olympics as well, and I’ve played against the likes of (Magda) Eriksson week in, week out.
"We know the quality they have but it’s for us to prepare ourselves as best as we can for the upcoming games and see what we can get out of it."
McCabe played wing-back in the 3-2 win over Australia but her versatility provides Ireland with plenty of options, and manager Pauw said that the two would have discussions about where her captain would be positioned moving forward.
"Everybody can see the importance of Katie for this squad on and off the pitch," said Pauw.
"She’s my first link of course as captain but not only because she is wearing the captain’s armband but because she is the captain of this team.
"Katie has a very difficult position and that is something that we will discuss this week together. She doesn’t know yet, so she knows now.
"At Arsenal, she has a different role from here and switching from one role to the other is extremely difficult, especially when you feel that you can do even more than you do already for the team.
"The professionalism and the hunger for success and the leadership qualities, you cannot ask for anything better as a coach from your captain."
Meanwhile, McCabe, who was speaking at the announcement of Cadbury as an official partner of the Irish women’s team, said that the fact that Thursday’s game with Sweden in Tallaght has sold out days before kick-off is a great endorsement of the side's progress and a long way removed from when she made her debut in 2015.
"We were only getting a couple of hundred at Tallaght Stadium but you’d always feel those couple of hundred.
"Back then you’d see them then after the games, obviously you’d be going up and giving them autographs and stuff. Right now, even against Australia, you’re still seeing those faces and obviously more as well.
"I know the stadium is sold out for Thursday. I think when Covid lifts we’d like to see even more fans coming.
"I know I’m biased but I think we have the best fans in the world, we saw that even with the lads’ game against Qatar. We got the Aviva rocking and hopefully we can see Tallaght Stadium rocking on Thursday."
Follow the Republic of Ireland v Sweden via our liveblog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app, or watch live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player.
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