Wonder teen Mary Fowler has backflipped on her “nomadic” Matildas’ selection furore after a four month stand-off with Aussie football officials.
Fowler — who walked away from national team duty under previous coach Alen Stajcic — will next month travel to Colorado along with two uncapped players, as Milicic mulls his World Cup squad.
US-based goalkeeper Teagan Micah and Sydney FC’s Elizabeth Ralston will also get the chance to make their claims for a ticket to France.
Captain Sam Kerr will lead the side, with five changes to the squad that won the Cup of Nations earlier this month.
Midfielder Katrina Gorry and attacking threat Chloe Logarzo return after injuries, joining Fowler, Micah and Ralston as inclusions.
Alex Chidiac will remain in Spain with club Atletico Madrid, while Amy Harrison, Princess Ibini, Teresa Polias and Eliza Campbell have missed out. Kyah Simon has missed selection due to injury, but remains in the frame to travel to France should she prove her fitness.
The exclusion of Michelle Heyman looks to be the death knell for her chance of reaching a second World Cup, as Milicic ponders other attacking threats.
Chief among them is Fowler.
Fowler made her Socceroos debut against Brazil last year as a 15-year-old and stood out in a high-profile friendly draw against England in just her third cap.
She hasn’t played for Australia since reports that her family was dismayed by a characterisation of her nomadic life by ex-coach Stajcic.
Two of Fowler’s siblings have represented Ireland at youth international level. She has previously said she would like to play for both Australia and the same nation as her siblings.
Fowler’s brother Quivi, 19, and sister Ciara, 17, have previously represented Ireland, the country of their birth at youth level, but the talented family was raised in Cairns and are on Football Federation Australia’s radar.
Stajcic said in November — when Fowler first refused to make herself available for selection ahead of Australia’s friendly series against Chile.
It was reported at the time she turned down a chance to play for Australia in favour of attending a training camp with Cristiano Ronaldo’s sprint coach in England.
The former coach appeared to suggest he was concerned by some of the advice she was receiving from within her inner circle.
“They’ve lived an alternative lifestyle, if you’d like to call it that, over the last couple of years and the father has a whole family he’s trying to look after and protect and foster their growth on and off the field,” Stajcic said.
“We don’t know if that path’s the right one or the wrong one, but she’s certainly come a long way on and off the field as a person and we have to give them that space to do what they have to do.
“She is 15 years old; for me it’s a little bit disappointing but she’s under her father’s wing at the moment and I wish her and her family all the best.”
With Milicic getting the call up, Fowler is suddenly back available.
Milicic will give the wonder-teen a chance to win a place in his World Cup squad while in America, but stated it must be on merit.
“It has been my intention from the outset to give as many players as possible a chance to impress ahead of our final squad selection for France,” Milicic said.
“We will be looking for players to step up in the United States, both in training and our match against the world’s number one ranked side.
“As a unit we will be aiming to build upon the foundations and standards we set during the recent Cup of Nations.”
MATILDAS SQUAD FOR FRIENDLY AGAINST USA
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Lydia Williams, Teagan Micah.
Defenders: Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Elizabeth Ralson, Gema Simon.
Midfielders: Tameka Butt, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Emily van Egmond.
Forwards: Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso.