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Rachel Corsie: Scotland Women must grasp chance and make progress at upcoming Pinatar Cup

Scotland celebrate after Eartha Cumings' penalty heroics at last year's Pinatar Cup. Image: SNS.
Scotland celebrate after Eartha Cumings' penalty heroics at last year's Pinatar Cup. Image: SNS.

Ahead of our first Scotland camp of 2023, Pedro Martinez Losa has named the 25-player squad who will be heading out to Spain.

In just over a week’s time, we will travel to Spain and arrive at our base camp at La Finca ahead of our third Pinatar Cup campaign.

This year’s edition will see us come up against Iceland (February 15), the Philippines (February 18) and Wales (February 21) but this camp brings more opportunities than just game time.

It’s a camp in the calendar I know a lot of the players look forward to because we’re together for longer and have more chances to work on different things without the pressure competitive qualifiers can bring.

Although we don’t want the disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup lingering over us, we shouldn’t treat this camp as a completely fresh start, but rather one where we can aim to make good progress.

We’ve built on a lot of things over the last 18 months since Pedro has come in. He has very specific ideas about his style of play. As a group of players, we know exactly what’s expected of us at training and in a game.

But we also know there are areas we need to improve on which we’ll certainly use the camp to address – but we won’t disregard the positive strides we’ve made so far.

As I reflect on last year’s Pinatar Cup, I know people back home were underwhelmed with some of the results but, for us, there was so much value in them. We got to try things without the detriment of dropping points in qualification campaign.

Having a chance to mix things up and for players to gain difference experiences should benefit us in the long run this year, too, as we prepare for the inaugural Nations League campaign.

Caroline Weir and Hungary’s Dóra Zeller in action during a Pinatar Cup 2022 match between Scotland and Hungary. Image: SNS.

The format is going to be slightly different to any competition we’ve played in before and we’ll be playing teams who are considered the same level as us.

I don’t want to sound disrespectful but in the Nations League we won’t come up against the teams who are lower in the rankings, so every game is going to bring added pressure and significance.

One thing I’d like to see more from us during this camp in Spain is ruthlessness.

We need to go out with a winning mentality and have the mindset that we can win all three of those games – and even if we’re struggling in a match, we need to still believe we will find a way to grind out the win.

A deserved Scotland call-up for Jamie-Lee Napier

The 25-player squad is mostly made up of players who have been routinely called up by Pedro, with London City Lionesses’ Jamie-Lee Napier the only new addition to the squad.

Although uncapped, she’ll not be a completely new face, as Jamie-Lee was first called up back in 2019, so it’s great to see her back with the national team again.

I don’t think the last few years have been the easiest for Jamie-Lee after moving from Hibs to Chelsea at just 19 years old. It was probably a great environment for her to learn in, but she just didn’t get the game time.

Jamie-Lee Napier in action for London City Lionesses. Image: Shutterstock.

But she’s persevered and worked really hard to get her confidence back, and I saw the potential she had at Birmingham City when were both on loan there during the 2020-21 season.

Now 22-years-old and at London City, she seems to be really enjoying her football again and her place in the squad feels like a just reward – hopefully, she makes the most of it.

It will be our first Scotland camp since Jen Beattie announced her retirement and, like I wrote last week, I know she’ll be a big miss amongst the squad, both on and off the pitch.

Transfer window drama good for profile of women’s game

The football transfer window came to an end on Tuesday and it was good to see the women’s game become part of the deadline day buzz.

The drama was mainly centered around Arsenal putting in a bid reportedly worth around £500,000 for Manchester United’s forward Alessia Russo – which would have made her the most expensive female player on the planet.

It would’ve eclipsed the record £400,000 Barcelona paid for Keira Walsh in the summer and although the Russo transfer didn’t happen, it feels like it’s set a precedent now.

Manchester United forward Alessia Russo. Image: PA.

We’ve seen in the men’s game how if a player goes for a certain amount of money then that becomes the new normal which clubs then try to out-do.

With Keira moving for £400,00 and Russo wanted for £500,000, who knows what the figures will grow to be in the new few transfer windows. I have no doubt they’ll keep increasing.

A big thing which is talked about in the women’s game is revenue and profit and it’s something which is improving but still needs to become more sustainable.

However, with these sort of transfers, clubs now know if they develop a player there’s the possibility of a considerable fee, so it’s all very positive from a business point of view.

Another positive was the vast amount of attention the potential move was getting.

At Aston Villa, we have Sky Sports News constantly rolling on the TV and Alessia was up there as one of the biggest stories of the day alongside the men’s transfers.

Rachel Boyle returns for Hibs

Although not a transfer, Hibs will be boosted by the return of a player on Sunday as Rachael Boyle will be named in their match-day squad for the first time since January 2022.

Rachael has been away from the game due to being pregnant and it was great to hear she could be back involved on the pitch less than six months after giving birth to her daughter.

Rachael Boyle will be named in Hibs’ match-day squad for the first time since giving birth. Image: Shutterstock.

For her to be named in the squad already is a testament to the kind of person Rachael is, and reflects the hard work and commitment she has put in throughout her football career.