In light of Jess Fishlock’s 100 caps for Wales, Watford Ladies Head Coach Keith Boanas says the Melbourne City FC boss should be the next Wales manager.

Fishlock became the first ever Welsh footballer to reach 100 caps for The Dragons by starting in a 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland today; typically scoring a wonderful half-volley (the 28th goal of her international career) and putting in a stellar performance.

Ex-Charlton Athletic and Millwall Lionesses manager Keith Boanas says: “Jess would be the next one in line (for the Welsh manager’s job) after Jayne Ludlow.” Boanas continues on his reasons why: “If the team is down she is a leader, she can lift the players back up. She has a winning mentality and that is her biggest strength.”

Boanas’ last position before Watford was as Estonia Ladies national team boss. On Jess reaching 100 international appearances he stated: “Getting 100 caps for your country is a fantastic achievement, she should be loudly applauded.” Boanas added: “She is a fantastic player and thoroughly deserving of that. For anyone to reach that milestone is a fantastic achievement.”

Fishlock has had a diverse and successful career, starting at Cardiff City Ladies as a teenager and taking her all across the world from spells in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, Germany with FFC Frankfurt, U.S.A with Seattle Reign (her current parent club) to Australia with Melbourne Victory and now Melbourne City (where she is currently the manager). There have also been periods at Bristol Academy and Glasgow City inbetween.

The all-action midfielder has a trophy-littered cabinet, including two back-to-back Eredivisie at AZ in 08/09 and 09/10, three W-League Grand Final victories (with Victory in 2014 and City in 2016 and 2017), two WSL Shields at Seattle in 2014 and 2015, and the extremely coveted UEFA Champions League with Frankfurt in 2015. She also has two NSWL and one FA Cup runners-up medals.

Her individual accolades include FA WSL Club and Fans Player of the Year in 2011, FA WSL Fans, Club Players Player and Players Player of the Year in 2012, 3 NSWL Best XI in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and W-League Best XI in 2012, W-League League and Club Players Player of the Year in 2013 alongside two player of the match performances in the 2013 and 2017 W-League Grand Finals.

On what makes her such a special player, Boanas said: “She’s a winner. She’s tenacious and she’s technically excellent. She’s very clever and scores goals too. She dominates areas of the game for you.”
His admiration wasn’t just from a distance either, stating: “I have tried to sign her! I spoke to her about signing for me when I was originally meant to take over at Lincoln.”

The all-time record Cardiff Ladies goal-scorer began her Wales career with a debut against Switzerland in 2006. 11 years on, she has been named Wales Player of the Year 4 times, in consecutive years from 2011 to 2014. On her achievement of 100 caps Fishlock has said: “To have reached the milestone of 100 now is amazing. I am extremely proud.” She continued: “Football is full of opinions, so it feels nice to become a statistic.”

Her influence has been unwavering in her time with Wales and despite not quite guiding the Dragons to an international tournament, with the qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 beginning in September she hasn’t given up on the dream yet. Fishlock stated: “I am 100% committed to this campaign. I believe in what we are doing and I would really love to play in a major tournament, that is the dream.” She added: “We don’t want to be that maybe team anymore. We want to be the team that makes it.”

The only thing that is not a maybe is Jessica Fishlock’s status as a legend of the game and that her wonderful career is a statistic, not an opinion.

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