Feature | Patten making most of fast start with WNT

Feature | Patten making most of fast start with WNT

There is no better way to adapt to a new envirnoment then to get started straight away.

Anna Patten knows that. It is why she arrived in early to her first Republic of Ireland camp and began the process of trying to remember everyone’s name, how to navigate around the team hotel and take note of key activities on the daily schedule.

SECURE YOUR SEAT FOR IRELAND V SWEDEN

The 25-year-old is no stranger to this process having joined Aston Villa from Arsenal in 2023 and previously represented England at underage level. But the 5ft 10in defender wanted to integrate quickly with Ireland, who she qualifies for through her Donegal-born Grandfather and Galway-born Grandmother.

The first, official, day of camp started with breakfast alongside her new international team-mates before posing for some photographs. The initiation was underway. Next followed a first training session at the FAI National Training Centre and that is where she felt most comfortable – on the pitch.

Patten took it all in her stride. In fact, she adapted so quickly that Head Coach Eileen Gleeson selected her to start in the opening EURO 2025 qualifier away to France in Metz. Just five days after meeting up with the Ireland squad for the first time, she was tasked with being part of their defensive unit for a crucial game.

The numbers show that Patten performed well on her senior international debut. Over the course of 90 minutes, she won all of her aerial duels, dominated in 75% of her overall duels, completed 65% of her passes and made eight recoveries, five interceptions and four clearances. It was impressive stuff against a team ranked third in the world.

For those who are regular watchers of the WSL in England, they wouldn’t have been one bit surprised at Patten’s fast start. Composed in possession of the ball, aware of the impending danger around her and quick to shift position to close gaps or make space, she is a defender very much suited to the demands of the modern game. It is why Gleeson wanted her in the Ireland set-up.

Patten wanted to make the most of the entire experience. It is why she was practising her rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann and thinking a lot about her Grandparents in the lead-up to the game. She is fiercely proud of her Irish links and was not about to take anything for granted in being selected to pull on the WNT jersey.

After the France game, Patten told reporters: “I actually was talking to my Granny about it, getting her to help me but I felt it was so important that I was able to stand there if I got my debut and sing it loud and proud. 

“I had Denise (O’Sullivan) beside me, she was singing loud, I was singing loud, it is quite an anthem, I love singing it. My Mum was just telling me that she was up in the crowd and she was getting emotional singing it. It was a proud moment for me. 

“Hopefully there’s many more opportunities in my career to sing it again.”

Patten did get to sing the national anthem again, just four days later when she made her home debut, against England, in the Aviva Stadium. No time for nerves, it was a case of adapting to the new set of circumstances – something that she is becoming a master of. Again, she played 90 minutes and proved that she belonged at this level.

There is little time to reflect on how quickly it has all fallen in front of her as there are more qualifiers to focus on. Patten wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

UEFA EURO 2025 QUALIFIER
Ireland v Sweden
Friday, May 31
Aviva Stadium
KO 19:30

FAI080-139 WNT Two Match Pack Ireland v Sweden Website 970x750.png
FAI080-139 WNT Two Match Pack Ireland v Sweden Website 970x750.png

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