Home » ‘A blessing in disguise’: Refreshed Ellie Carpenter ready to tackle Matildas captain Sam Kerr in UWCL

‘A blessing in disguise’: Refreshed Ellie Carpenter ready to tackle Matildas captain Sam Kerr in UWCL

Matildas and Olympique Lyonnais defender Ellie Carpenter has labelled her ACL injury “a blessing in disguise” as she prepares to take on Sam Kerr’s Chelsea in tomorrow morning’s UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final.

It will be the 22-year-old’s first UWCL match since she injured her knee in the final of the same competition last May, twisting awkwardly in the grass less than 15 minutes into the match before being stretchered off in tears.

Lyon went on to win the final against Barcelona and extend their record as the most decorated European women’s club in history. They’re now looking to repeat the feat, starting with a first-leg quarter-final match against Sam Kerr’s Chelsea in France on Thursday.

Carpenter is the only Australian with two Champions League medals, but this time she wants to do it all herself.(Getty Images: Jonathan Moscrop)

Speaking to Forbes, Carpenter said her ACL injury was an opportunity to take a break from football altogether, having had few opportunities to rest since bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old with the Matildas.

“Honestly, I think it was the best thing that’s happened to me,” she told Forbes.

“I really needed this break. I was really fatigued; I’ve played a lot — a lot — of football in the last year-and-a-half. I was just on the verge of burnt-out, really.

“The injury came and obviously it was disappointing, but at the same time, it was the perfect time for me to reset, get stronger, have a rest, have an off-season that I never really have had.

“I think I really, really needed it and I think I’m better from it. I’m more refreshed. I feel better on the pitch than ever before. As much as I never want a long-term injury, I think it was a blessing in disguise.”

Carpenter’s fitness is likely music to the ears of Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson, with the 2023 Women’s World Cup now just four months away and an injury to fellow full-back Steph Catley, which kept her out of Arsenal’s loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday morning, to contend with ahead of the April international window.