Three Canberra United players in Matildas World Cup squad

Canberra United striker Ashleigh Sykes' ultimate goal is play at next year's World Cup with her twin sister Nicole Begg and Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has opened the door for that to happen despite picking only Sykes in his 32-player squad on Monday for a training camp at the AIS in January.

Sykes, fellow forward Michelle Heyman and defender Ellie Brush were the only three United players selected for Stajcic's squad as preparations begin for the World Cup in Canada in June.

Canberra United players Ellie Brush and Ashleigh Skyes celebrate their selection in the Matildas squad on Monday.
Canberra United players Ellie Brush and Ashleigh Skyes celebrate their selection in the Matildas squad on Monday. Photo: Matt Bedford

Stajcic said the 32 picked had the first chance to impress, but those United players overlooked – like Lydia Williams (knee), Caitlin Munoz and Begg –still had time to force their way into the final squad.

Selection caps off a brilliant season for Sykes – she scored two goals to guide United to an upset 3-1 win over Perth Glory in Sunday's W-League grand final, was named player of the match and was also named Canberra's player of the year.

But she would love nothing more than to go to Canada on the plane with her twin.

"That's the main [goal] that I think of, I'd love to have Nic in there with me and coming to a World Cup with me," Sykes said.


"She has had an awesome season and really led from the front in terms of a captain's perspective the last two years.

"I'd love to see her rewarded for that and hopefully she [is] in the next six months."

Stajcic said Sykes had shown that she was a big-game player during the W-League finals series and he challenged her to replicate that form at the next level.

But he also said the Matildas had plenty of depth in attack, and players like Heyman, Lisa De Vanna and Sam Kerr were all in the running.

"She's been more consistent and in the big games has really stepped up over the last two weeks, but international football is another level again," he said.

Stajcic said there was a long way to go before the final squad for Canada was selected and he would bring other players in to give them the chance to earn a spot.

Goalkeeper Williams missed the W-League due to her second knee reconstruction, but she was the Matildas No.1 before that and could still be among the 23 who go to North America.

Stajcic said Munoz and Begg could also force their way onto the plane.

He said Heyman's work rate and Brush's consistency had made it impossible to overlook either of them.

"[Heyman] is probably the hardest working Canberra player on the field this season – she worked hard for the team, chasing back to help defend," Stajcic said.

"She just needs to work on her execution a bit.

"[Brush] found it a challenge at [the international] level, but she's so consistent and deserves her chance.

"Lydia is in contention and Caitlin Munoz will come in and help the squad. Nicole Begg will also get her chance."

Matildas squad: Teigen Allen (Sydney FC), Laura Alleway (Brisbane Roar), Melissa Barberi (gk, Adelaide United), Nicola Bolger (Sydney FC), Danielle Brogan (Adelaide United), Ellie Brush (Canberra United), Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar), Kim Carroll (Brisbane Roar), Steph Catley (Melbourne Victory), Emma Checker (Melbourne Victory), Alex Chidiac (Adelaide United), Hayley Crawford (Newcastle Jets), Larissa Crummer (Brisbane Roar), Brianna Davey (gk, Melbourne Victory), Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne Victory), Casey Dumont (gk, Sydney FC), Caitlin Foord (Perth Glory), Kate Gill (Perth Glory), Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar), Amy Harrison (Sydney FC), Michelle Heyman (Canberra United), Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane Roar), Alanna Kennedy (Perth Glory), Teresa Polias (Sydney FC), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar), Gema Simon (Melbourne Victory), Kyah Simon (Sydney FC), Ashleigh Sykes (Canberra United), Marianna Tabain (Perth Glory), Emily van-Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Servet Uzunlar (Sydney FC).