Matildas ready battle with Mexico in Texas

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Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold has leant on the leadership expertise of embattled national skipper Sam Kerr as she navigates her way through her first season as West Ham captain.

Arnold’s West Ham side is just one spot above the relegation zone on the English Women’s Super League ladder.

She admits the captaincy has been a “challenge” and something she’s “not really used to”.

“Sometimes I feel like I have to carry the whole weight of the world on my shoulders,” Arnold said ahead of the Matildas’ friendly international against Mexico in Texas on Wednesday (AEST).

“It’s just getting to the point of (finding) a balance. It’s definitely been a learning curve … but the challenge has been so rewarding.”

Arnold said she had sought the leadership advice of sidelined Chelsea star Kerr, who will miss Australia’s Paris Olympic Games campaign after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee in January.

“I’ve had one or two conversations with Sam about it, the little things that I’ve endured at West Ham,” the 30-year-old Gold Coast product keeper said.

“She’s been able to relate to me and say not to take on everyone’s problems.”

Kerr is set to return to a London court on April 26 in an attempt to have a charge of using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress to a police officer thrown out.

The alleged incident took place in January last year following a dispute over a taxi fare.

According to reports, Arnold claimed the Matildas had not discussed the incident and that there had been no talk of permanently stripping Kerr of the national captaincy.

Apart from Kerr, Arnold said she had also been guided by the leadership of the most experience Matildas representative of all time, veteran defender Clare Polkinghorne.

“When I think of a captain, I always think of ‘Polks’,” she said.

“Growing up, she was my captain at Brisbane Roar, and for a little bit of the Matildas as well.

“The presence that she has and the way that when she speaks, everyone just listens, that’s something that I’ve always looked up to, and I can only hope that some people look at me as that captain one day.”

Polkinghorne, who has been capped a record 165 times for the Matildas, is in strong contention to be recalled to Australia’s starting team next week, with two other central defensive options, Clare Hunt and Aivi Luik, sidelined with respective foot and hamstring injuries.