Scotland women's head coach Shelley Kerr focused on building winning habit

Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr
Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr says she the national squad has strength in depth

Scotland women's head coach Shelley Kerr says the time for experimenting is over and the last friendlies before the World Cup qualifiers are about building momentum.

The national women's team face New Zealand in Spain on Saturday and then again on Tuesday.

"The previous games we've been giving the players opportunities, playing time and experience," Kerr said.

"[Now] it's about trying to come up with a game plan to win."

Scotland are building towards the 2019 World Cup qualifiers away to Switzerland in Schaffhausen on 5 April and then home to Poland in Paisley on 10 April.

Scotland captain Rachel Corsie
Scotland captain Rachel Corsie will return to action against New Zealand following injury

After their opening two Group 2 games - a 2-1 win overt Belarus and a 5-0 victory over Albania in October 2017 - Scotland sit second in the table, six points behind leaders Switzerland but with two games in hand.

Scotland suffered their first defeat under Kerr on their last visit to Spain, losing 3-0 to Norway in an International Challenge match, before a goalless draw with Russia.

But Kerr feels they gained more from the experience of losing.

"We learned a lot as a squad - if you take the Norway game you've got an opponent ranked 14th in the world in comparison with us at 24th," Kerr said.

"They're a really robust team, technical footballers, and [the] objective was to try and create more and keep possession against better nations. I felt we did that.

'We're putting what we learned into practice'

"What we didn't do was manage the game, and maybe tactically we have some adjustment to do in our thinking.

"With Russia we dominated the game, so you see the large improvements from one game to the next, even though they were different types of opponents.

"We finished the game against Russia really well, we just didn't have an end product, so now we're putting what we learned into practice."

As well as her aims for the team, Kerr is also pleased to welcome back captain Rachel Corsie, who returns to international action after surgery on her knee to investigate a problem she was visibly suffering with during the Euro finals in the Netherlands last summer.

"She's been phenomenal as a captain, her leadership qualities are a huge reason why she took over, her communication skills are great and she is able to be that buffer between staff and players," the Scotland head coach said.

Glasgow City striker Abbi Grant
Glasgow City striker Abbi Grant could win her first cap against New Zealand

"She takes her responsibilities as captain seriously and is a role model, and having her here [in Spain] has been big for coaches and players."

There could also be a debut on the cards for the newly-called up Glasgow City striker Abbi Grant.

"She's got something different from an attacking sense, exceptionally good with the ball at her feet, she can chop and change direction, and she gives us another option and threat," said Kerr, who says she now has difficult decisions to make selecting her strongest XI.

"[The] more players you can bring in, the more it provides that competition within the squad and that's the rationale behind what we're doing, creating a competitive environment.

"We've used over 30 players in six months and that in itself tells you we've got that critical mass of players and it's all about how we can compete against one another."

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers

Lee Alexander (Glasgow City) 4 caps

Jenna Fife (Hibernian) 2 caps

Shannon Lynn (Vittsjo GIK) 26 caps

Defenders

Chloe Arthur (Bristol City) 13 caps

Jennifer Beattie (Manchester City) 110 caps

Rachel Corsie (Unattached) 94 caps

Frankie Brown (Bristol City) 92 caps

Sophie Howard (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) 6 caps

Rachel McLauchlan (Hibernian) 7 caps

Kirsty Smith (Hibernian) 27 caps

Midfielders

Leanne Crichton (Glasgow City) 58 caps

Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea) 15 caps

Hayley Lauder (Glasgow City) 89 caps

Joanne Love (Glasgow City) 183 caps

Caroline Weir (Liverpool) 46 caps

Lucy Graham (Hibernian) 1 cap

Forwards

Fiona Brown (FC Rosengård) 25 caps

Abbi Grant (Glasgow City) 0 caps

Claire Emslie (Manchester City) 7 caps

Lisa Evans (Arsenal) 67 caps

Christie Murray (Unattached) 52 caps

Jane Ross (Manchester City) 112 caps

Zoe Ness (Durham) 0 caps

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