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Pauw pleased with Ireland star's move to Brighton, but offers advice for Man City youngster

The Ireland manager also provided an update on her work on the development of women’s football on these shores.

Rianna Jarrett after signing for Brighton.
Rianna Jarrett after signing for Brighton.

RIANNA JARRETT’S MOVE across the water to Brighton & Hove Albion is a welcome switch for the Ireland star striker, Women’s National Team [WNT] manager Vera Pauw says.

The 25-year-old has established herself as one of the country’s most talented footballers of late, and well and truly announced herself on the international stage with her first goal in a Player-of-the-Match performance against Ukraine in October.

2018 and 2019 Women’s National League [WNL] Player of the Year Jarrett earned the transfer to England from home club Wexford Youths, where she won the treble in 2018 and the FAI Cup last season. 

A move to full-time football is the natural next step in her development, and she joins fellow Ireland international Megan Connolly at the Seagulls on an initial six-month deal.

While Jarrett has not appeared for her new club since putting pen to paper in January, she’s tipped to have a big impact. Just like she has had on these shores since working her way back from three Anterior Cruciate Ligament [ACL] injuries before the age of 21.

“She put all the pros and cons together, it’s been a long process for her to decide,” Pauw said at today’s Ireland WNT squad announcement ahead of next month’s crucial Euro 2021 qualifiers with Greece and Montenegro.

There were more options and she decided to go to Brighton.

“What I understood is because she gets the time to get fit, she gets the support to get fit and she gets the support with her background of three ACL ruptures in her career. That means a different individual approach and that is what she found that she could get there, that brought the choice as she explained to me.

“I fully support that.”

Pauw also noted that the decision to start Jarrett in that aforementioned Ukraine game came from highly-regarded goalkeeping coach, Jan Willem Ede, in training: “We’ve all seen the impact that she had,” Pauw smiled. 

tyler-toland Tyler Toland facing Manchester City. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The Ireland boss went on to explain the absence of 18-year-old Manchester City midfielder Tyler Toland from the 26-player squad, which sees the return of centurion Áine O’Gorman.

Pauw hasn’t started the Donegal teenager through her reign thus far, though she scored in Ireland’s opening 2-0 win over Montenegro. The Dutchwoman raised concerns for Toland after the Ukraine victory — “she is not the player she normally is,” she said, adding that she would pay a visit the Sky Blues — but included her in the line-up for Greece.

She is absent from provisional squad for their upcoming crucial back-to-back Euro 2021 qualifiers, however.

“As you’ve all seen, she’s not playing there,” Pauw said of Toland at City (she signed during the summer). “She played 15 minutes in the first squad until now. Unfortunately her development did not go to the direction that she’s still better than others.

“The national team is about selecting the very best players, I’m not saying that if she’s not playing she cannot be selected, but there’s other players at this moment that bring more to this squad.

She needs to play at a decent level. That’s always the case with every young player going to a huge club. She has world-class competition in her position, so it’s very difficult for her.

“I can only say how [Ireland captain] Katie McCabe dealt with it when she went to Arsenal first. She was on the bench and she asked for a loan so she could play. Gaining experience [at Glasgow City], she came back and you can see that the star that she is now.


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“We need to have a discussion with Manchester City to see if we can get her playing somewhere.”

“If a player is going to an international league and is not playing, that doesn’t help the player either,” the 57-year-old later added, when discussing home-based players and the Women’s National League [WNL]. It’s all down to the individual, she says.

Part of Pauw’s job spec is to grow the game of women’s football in Ireland.

ireland-manager-vera-pauw Ireland manager Vera Pauw. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The FAI stressed that they wanted the best for both the WNT and the WNT when they completed the “statement appointment,” and Pauw is pleased to be looking at grassroots and the domestic game. 

Yesterday, it was confirmed that the WNL will expand to nine teams for the 2020 season, with Bohemian FC, Athlone Town AFC and Limerick-based Treaty United all competing for the first time. Kilkenny United are no longer involved.

When asked on her involvement on that — and on the growth of women’s football here — Pauw added:

“Apart from some appearances at coaching conferences, I see that as a support to the development but not a real impact in the development…. what we are doing at this moment is with the different stakeholders, we are analysing the game to see where the gaps are.

“We have made a structure to fill those gaps, we are now in the phase of putting that all on paper and doing proposals to create a seamless pathway for every player in Ireland.

“That is almost there already, but there’s a few gaps where players get stuck. As soon as you’ve got this pathway for every single player in Ireland, you can expand after.

“But first you need to put these structures in place, and that is based on the analysis of what is already there. From that, we need to see where there is an overload of activities and where there is missing activities.

“We are in the process of that with all the professional staff members we have within the association.”

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Emma Duffy

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