Matildas defender Steph Catley is now widely considered to be the world's best left back, a title she inherited from US star Meghan Klingenberg. With that title comes serious responsibility.
Catley was one of the highest-profile (yet still arguably underrated) additions in the Women's Super League transfer window, joining Arsenal alongside Melbourne City teammate Lydia Williams.
She spoke to Arseblog about the benefit of joining a club with an Australian coach and Matildas teammate already in the set-up (Joe Montemurro and Caitlin Foord), saying that it was hard to enter a club blind.
“It’s nice to have someone you trust at a club that you are going to because they’ll give you an honest opinion to what you’re going into,” Catley said. “It’s harder to go into a club blind.
“Having Joe and Caitlin [Foord] here I value their opinions very highly and they were telling me good things. I have worked with Joe before and I know the way that he likes to play football and that philosophy works with the way that I like to play football. It was something I wanted to be a part of and Arsenal is a huge club with so much history. It was an easy decision because it just felt right in my gut.”
But what she perhaps wouldn't have realised it just how key her influence on the Women's Super League powerhouse is set to become, with Arsenal's major title weakness proving their inability to deal with fast transitional counterattacks down their flanks.
The ability to defend immediately after - and even, in an oxymoronic fashion, during - attacking moves is a moden fullback's raison d'etre and no one appears to do it better than Catley.
Virtually every source post the Matildas' 2019 World Cup campaign, from her former coach Tom Sermanni, to her World Cup profile's statistical passing and crossing accuracy, to her former club Seattle Reign, to Fox Sports and the English media themselves, now all rate her as the best left back in world football.
Catley epitomises this ability to defend transitional breaks and that's exactly what Arsenal lack. They've lost their last five matches against Emma Hayes's fast-breaking Chelsea side with Sam Kerr's pace now at the front.
They also were knocked out of the Champions League by another fast-breaking club, PSG, which pounced on Arsenal's fullbacks after the possession-side's attacking presses.
But they haven't lost a match with Catley in the side and as the Matildas defender noted, she does have the pedigree in dealing with these exact situations.
“I haven’t spoken with Joe directly about that but having played in the NWSL you have some of the best footballing athletes. Every winger you come up against is rapid and strong- similar to PSG I would say from watching most of that game," she continued.
“That is something I am used to from playing in the US for the last six or seven years so I think that is something I can add to the Arsenal team. As a full-back it’s my job to come up against players like that.
“I know the way that Joe likes to play football and that philosophy works with the way that I like to play football.”
“I like to be on the other side of that too. I want to make the winger work back and mark me as well.”