By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – Diana Matheson is ready and available.
After recovering from knee surgery, a broken foot and quad strain, the veteran midfielder was smiling ahead of Canada’s quarter-final showdown with England at the Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
“I am the best I’ve been in eight months, for sure,” Matheson told reporters this week after practice. “I have been training with the team fully. I’ll be available for the game again on the weekend. So who knows, you might see me out there.”
With 166 caps, Matheson is a key cog in the Canadian team.
But she was sidelined by an injured anterior cruciate ligament last October. And her recovery was slowed by a broken fifth metatarsal in the foot in March.
Asked to rate her health out of 100, Matheson demurred.
“I can’t give you an honest answer because I haven’t played in an international match yet,” she said. “It’s hard in training, I mean we’re kind of tapering, being careful with the (work) load, so I can’t give you an honest answer.”
But Matheson says she was “irrationally excited” at being able to do drills that had other teammates, who have seen more action, less than excited about.
“Hopefully I’m adding a bit of energy for everybody,” she said.
Matheson said she and the team have done “absolutely everything physically and mentally” they could to get her ready to play at the tournament.
“When I’m in there, we’ll see,” she added.
The Canadian team had targeted her return for the round-of-16 game against Switzerland but a mild quad strain delayed matters.
The 31-year-old from Oakville, Ont., broke her left foot in 2010. Now she has matching screws in each foot.
England is ranked sixth in the world while Canada is eighth. Saturday’s winner at B.C. Place Stadium will play either No. 4 Japan or No. 10 Australia in Wednesday’s semifinal in Edmonton
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