THE Welsh women’s football team will take inspiration from Commonwealth Games boxing hero Lauren Price when they aim to land a knockout blow on England next week.
Bargoed’s Price, who became the first Welsh female fighter to win a medal at the Commonwealths when she claimed bronze in Glasgow, put her football ambitions aside to concentrate on boxing last year.
But she began the current World Cup qualification campaign as a key part of the Welsh national team and her former teammates cheered her on to success in the ring earlier this month.
Now Price will be watching as Wales face group leaders England at the Cardiff City Stadium next Thursday (kick-off 7.05pm) looking to secure a play-off spot for Canada 2015.
“I was chuffed to see how well she is doing,” said Wales manager Jarmo Matikainen as he named his squad for next week’s crunch game.
“We watched the semi-final as a whole team in Scotland; it was really an event and everybody was carried away with how well she was doing.
“Lauren has been a fantastic person to work with and she has done really well in football.
“She is doing well in other sports too and it is up to her to make the decision of what is the best thing for her.
“I knew the Commonwealth Games was her main target.
“She was with us when we started the campaign against Belarus in Cardiff, but we already knew her focus was turning towards the Games.
“She is a fantastic person and I hope she will continue to play football as well.
“But whatever she does she will do well and I wish her all the best.”
Matikainen says his players, led by star turn Jess Fishlock, will be inspired by Price’s success.
“When she did not make the final, we thought about bringing her into the squad for the Scotland game; it would be brilliant to see her,” he said.
“It was a good team bonding event watching her. Everyone knows Lauren and everyone likes her. She has been part of the national teams for quite a few years and she is such a professional it was a great event for everyone to see.”
Wales squad: Sophie Dando, Nicola Davies, Rhian Cleverley, Nicola Cousins, Kylie Davies, Loren Dykes, Carys Hawkins, Sophie Ingle, Helen Bleazard, Georgia Evans, Jessica Fishlock, Josie Green, Michelle Green, Angharad James, Sam Quayle, Sarah Wiltshire, Natasha Harding, Hannah Keryakoplis, Megan Wynne, Nadia Lawrence.