Wales veteran Jess Fishlock says failing to play at a major tournament in her career would “eat me alive forever”.
Fishlock has had a celebrated career at club level, collecting Champions League winner’s medals at Frankfurt and Lyon as well as winning domestic titles during spells in Netherlands and Australia.
The Seattle-based OL Reign midfielder was also named the Most Valuable Player in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League in 2021.
But Fishlock, 35, has never played at a major tournament for Wales, and the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand could represent her last chance of doing so.
Wales need four points from their final two qualifiers, away to Greece on Friday and at home to Slovenia on Tuesday, to guarantee a place in October’s play-offs.
“I don’t see it so much as (something missing) from my CV,” Fishlock said when asked about the possibility of never playing at a major tournament.
“But as a proud Welsh woman it would definitely be something that I would not be able to get past for the rest of my life.
The 🐉 was a lock 🔒— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) November 16, 2021
“It would be something that would just eat me alive forever.”
Gemma Grainger said last week that she made a deal with Fishlock when she was appointed Wales boss in March 2021.
Grainger signed a four-year contract and wanted Wales’ most capped footballer to “stick around” for the entire period.
But Fishlock, who will win her 135th cap in Greece, said: “I said to Gemma at the beginning that I just have to see what my body and mind feels like.
“We’ll see what happens with this campaign, whether it’s joy or sadness.
“Committing to a campaign is not like CONCACAF or Asia where it’s basically two weeks of your life. It’s 18 months of your entire life.
“My focus right now is on the World Cup campaign and doing well.
“After that I’ll reassess to see how my body’s feeling and, more importantly, where my mind is at.”
Fishlock has returned to the Wales squad after being rested for the June friendly with New Zealand in Spain.
She said: “It was a no-brainer, a time to breathe for a couple of days with no travel.
“We have a crazy and intense schedule, everything is super-high pressure.
“It was the only chance to refresh and reboot.”
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