Scotland and Arsenal star Kim Little has been selected as captain for Team GB’s match against Japan, following her stunning performance inside the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday night.
The midfielders excelled throughout the clash against Chile, creating chances and posing a goal threat herself as Team GB produced a performance that was far more domineering than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.
Little’s performance was so solid that fans flocked to social media with clips of her best moments and praise for her talent, leading to the Team GB Athlete trending on Twitter.
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But the 31-year-old was unaware her nutmegs and strong performance in the side’s opening game were being discussed; she is not on Twitter.
“I haven’t seen any of them – I can remember them,” the Arsenal midfielder said.
“It’s nice to hear that people enjoyed my performance but mostly the team’s and I’m just happy that I’m able to bring my strengths to the squad and hope that it helps us win games.”
Team GB, will be aware that their sides next match against host country Japan, who will be driven by national pride and a want to win Olympic Gold at home, will be more challenging a game than the opening.
Little, who is co-captain of the GB side alongside Sophie Ingle and Steph Houghton, will be even more aware then most as to the threat Japan pose; she was part of the side defeated by them during the 2019 World Cup.
She said: “In 2019, it was a very tough game for us and we need to be as prepared as possible for that, especially with them being the home nation and having such great technical ability. We need to minimise their ability to do that. We have great respect for them, we’ve already reviewed them a bit today. It’s a different challenge but very much one we’re looking forward to.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, Japan will not have the benefit of a home crowd, Little however does not believe this could give GB an advantage.
“All footballers would say they’d much rather play with a crowd, regardless of whether they are for you or against you,” she said. “Of course, that’s a big miss with this tournament but, of course, it’s a must with the current circumstances with the pandemic.
“We’re going out there to perform. Our job is to do what we need to inside those white lines and to make sure we get the points. External things like fans can impact that but, right now, it can’t, so it’s just about being in the [mind-set] that we get on the pitch and win the games regardless.”
Little is joined on the pitch by her fellow Scot, and Manchester City player, Caroline Weir. The pair, along with Keira Walsh, formed a formidable trio, in Team GB’s opener.
Weir, who has nine City teammates on the team, believes that her pre-existing connections helped her settle in with the side.
She said: “I feel lucky that a lot of Man City teammates are here, [plus] Kim, and I’ve played with pretty much everyone else apart from maybe Fran [Kirby], Millie [Bright], Rach [Daly],” she said.
Team GB Boss Hege Riise has a full squad to choose for against Japan, apart from Fran Kirby. Kirby missed GBs opening match with a knock and is recovering, it is unlikely she will return for her sides next match.
“She is back in training but we don’t know exactly [how long she will be out],” Riise said. “It was only a knock in one of the sessions in Loughborough. We want to be sure that we don’t push her and take the time that she needs and the medical team requires. She’s back in training, feels good and she’s happy so we’ll see [but] we won’t risk her.”
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