Old and new... Lisa De Vanna and Mary Fowler train with the Matildas. Credit: Tristan Furney
Old and new... Lisa De Vanna and Mary Fowler train with the Matildas. Credit: Tristan Furney

Aussie wunderkind’s bold plan to become ‘world’s best’

MARY Fowler just drops it into conversation, in a way that tells you why the Matildas' 16-year-old wunderkind is on the plane to the World Cup.

"I want to be the best in the world," she says, and the only surprise she'll admit to is that it's come quicker than even she thought it would.

A year since her debut, Fowler is the most eye-catching of Ante Milicic's selection for next month's World Cups, seemingly bringing to an end the tug of war for her coveted services between Australia and Ireland.

It's all part of an apparent career masterplan, mapped out in conjunction with her family amid an itinerant life between Europe and Australia that saw her trial recently at Manchester City and other clubs.

But for now her only interest is soaking up the World Cup environment, hot-housing herself in the company of the Matildas and ideally making an appearance at the World Cup which would make her Australia's youngest ever player.

"It's an honour, my family and I love Australia so it's a very proud moment for us," Fowler said.

"I'm looking to get over there. I want to be the best in the world, and to do that I need the right information, the right environment, and the right attitude.

"So getting selected to play at a World Cup will provide me with the environment that I need - I'll be training with girls who are better than me so I will end up exposing some weaknesses in my game. That's what I need, to know what I'm doing wrong.

Mary Fowler has grand plans to take her career to the very top. Picture: Getty
Mary Fowler has grand plans to take her career to the very top. Picture: Getty

"Everything is positive, the environment is very professional. It's an environment I know I can become better in. I get along well with the players."

Remarkably self-assured for her age, Fowler is more concerned with the schoolwork she will carry to France than with the huge media interest of recent months, leaving career decisions to her father.

One of five siblings all looking to play professional football - one of whom, her elder brother Quivi, she calls her idol and role model - Fowler brushed aside any thoughts of playing for other countries, despite having represented Ireland at youth level.

"It's no secret that I could have represented Ireland but I could have represented Papua New Guinea as well," she said.

"I was born in Cairns, and as my father said, my family are proud Australians.

Sisters Ciara and Mary Fowler come from a family of five siblings who all want to play professional football. Picture: AAP
Sisters Ciara and Mary Fowler come from a family of five siblings who all want to play professional football. Picture: AAP

"So now I'm in the Matildas squad for the World Cup, my goal is to get on the pitch, and if I do then I'll be tied to Australia.

"That would be an amazing achievement - and then I want to score. That's my job in the team, that's my goal.

"It was amazing to get the call-up to the World Cup, a really exciting moment, and my family and I are very proud.

Just being around the team has been good. I'm looking forward to being part of the Matildas in the long run and going to the World Cup. It's going to be a great event to be around the girls and learn from them."