Earlier in the season, Solskjaer asked Brandon Williams and Marcos Rojo to play for the reserves at Leigh Sports Village to help build up their match fitness, but it ended up being a complicated process. As part of the first-team bubble, Williams and Rojo could not just mix with the U23s and then return to first-team training. They had to make their own way to Leigh and prepare in separate changing rooms. Manager Neil Wood was even forced to give separate team talks before kick-off and at half-time.
Crucially, the appointment also brings stability to the post, with Gustavsson inking a pact that will commence on the first day of 2021 and take him through to the conclusion of the 2024 Paris Olympics. It means that both he and the team he leads will be well placed to orchestrate plans that not only allow the squad to peak for the 2023 World Cup, but also the rescheduled Olympics, 2022 Asian Cup in India and 2024 Paris Olympics.
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Sam Kerr already having reached household name status in Australia, the hype that will surround the years ahead will almost certainly serve to propel several of her teammates into a similar stratosphere come 2023 and, even if results in 2021 and 2022 temper some level of expectation, the average Australian sports fan and media outlet will likely approach the ‘As One’ World Cup of 2023 with the expectancy that Australia will not only make at least the final four but win the whole damn thing.