Kellond-Knight returns to Matildas squad

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Classy midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight is poised to end a two-and-a-half year injury absence from the Matildas in their coming friendlies against Sweden and Thailand.

Kellond-Knight headlines Tony Gustavsson's squad for the games in Melbourne and Gosford, where she could make her first appearances under the current Matildas coach and push for a place in her fourth Women's World Cup.

The 32-year-old hasn't taken the field for the Matildas since the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics in February 2020.

She tore her ACL while playing in Sweden in July, 2020, and though she made the Matildas' Olympics squad, Kellond-Knight didn't play a minute in Tokyo due to knee pain.

She ultimately needed further knee surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation process.

The midfielder, capped 113 times, has since made a full recovery but has been left to build form and fitness with Hammarby in Sweden before this camp.

Defender Alanna Kennedy, goalkeeper Lydia Williams, Clare Wheeler and Emily van Egmond also return from injury but goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold (calf) will miss, with Sydney FC custodian Jada Whyman called up.

Skipper Sam Kerr and fellow England-based stars Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler are all available, while Stanford University midfielder Amy Sayer has been recalled.

"There are a few more players available which is great news as they come back from injury having recorded some good game time," Gustavsson said in a statement.

"For this camp, you see a core group of players returning, for the third camp in a row since September, and then a few players coming back in and it's well-deserved for those who have come back."

Ellie Carpenter (knee), Kyah Simon (knee), Tameka Yallop (ankle) and Emily Gielnik (calf) are out injured.

Veteran Clare Polkinghorne will win her 150th cap when she plays.

Australia are attempting to build on back-to-back wins over South Africa and Denmark.

They face Sweden, who beat them in the Olympics semi-finals, at AAMI Park on March 12 and Thailand at Central Coast Stadium three days later.

The friendlies are crucial preparations for next year's World Cup, where Australia play the Republic of Ireland, Nigeria and Canada in the group stage.

MATILDAS SQUAD: Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Larissa Crummer, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Charlotte Grant, Elise Kellond-Knight, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr (captain), Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Matilda McNamara, Teagan Micah (GK), Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Amy Sayer, Emily van Egmond, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Jada Whyman (GK), Lydia Williams (GK)


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