IRELAND women’s manager Vera Pauw has outlined what she believes Cork City striker Saoirse Noonan needs to do to receive a senior call-up.
Noonan has been in great form this season for City, playing an integral role in their recent seven game-winning run in all competitions which saw her named the Women’s National League player of the month for September.
Pauw named nine W.N.L players in her original 30 woman squad for their crucial Euro 2022 qualifier against Ukraine on Friday evening.
But while City’s number 10 was omitted, the senior manager insisted she is following her progress ‘very closely’.
“The thing is you have to be better in your position than the others to be able to qualify,” said Pauw when asked by the Echo.
“So if you look at the competition she has in her position she has Denise (O’Sullivan), Ellen Molloy coming in - although she is in the same league she brings something else -, you have got Megan Connolly, you have got Ruesha Littlejohn, so her issue is actually that she has a lot of competition in her position.
“The National team is not to award somebody who is doing well, the National team is to select the best players and she needs to be better than those.
“What does she need to do? I would say train with boys so that she gets that resistance so she can make up that last step.
“But we do see every single game, we see every single game so I do follow her very closely.
"It (the Irish league) is definitely better than what it was, it’s raising but of course, it is another level when you look at the W.S.L (Women’s Super League in England).
“The thing is only if you would train with boys then you can get the resistance every week that you need for the international games, it will help the club as well but you need to feel that resistance to really be ready for international football and look to take over positions.
“You can see it in the few players that do train and play with boys or have played with boys.”
Cork natives Megan Connolly and Denise O’Sullivan have retained their places in the final 23 player squad that will travel to Kiev and Pauw was keen to highlight their importance.
“They are playing in the spine, that’s their role,” she added.
“Megan has developed over the last year immensely. From a player that was in the line-up, did well but didn’t give something extra she is now really a core player.
"She is one of the first players on the team sheet.
“Denise has it all. She is in the attack important but she is also important starting the hunt in midfield when we are defending.
"So that combination of those two players makes our midfield very strong.”