Speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s Barclays Women’s Super League clash against Manchester City, Jonas Eidevall delivered updates on a wide range of topics – including team news, mental health and diversity.
‘Everybody reported back in [for training] today,’ he explained, ‘but I mean, it was a little bit of an odd FIFA window because there were some Olympic qualifiers. Some of them played three games and reported back later and they landed early this morning, so couldn’t be on the pitch today. So tomorrow, there’ll be more players on the pitch.’
‘But at the same time with the [Manchester] City game, I think both teams are very much in a similar position. They also have a lot of team players that were involved in the Asian Olympic qualifiers, for example.’
Eidevall’s squad selection has come into the limelight in recent weeks, with the Arsenal boss repeatedly denying that he has a first-choice goalkeeper. With the likes of Kyra Cooney-Cross struggling to earn consistent minutes too, Eidevall explained the difficulties of squad rotation.Embed from Getty Images
‘The starting point has to be what’s best for the team. If the starting point is trying to please the players, that’s never going to be possible. And that’s one of the things that you will ask any manager with a big squad – they’ll say the problem with it is how you keep everyone motivated.’
Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema have been the focal point of a new mental health initiative called Create The Space, launched in partnership with Common Goal. Eidevall was full of praise for their involvement, offering his views on society’s increasing acceptance of mental health issues.
‘I think it’s definitely a generational thing to becoming emotionally literate.. to identify your emotions. I mean, even I see myself quite young, but then I still come from a generation where we didn’t speak about the emotions as a younger generations do. And I think that is really kind of being able to understand how they’re feeling, but more importantly, to get the support. So I think it’s it’s great when we have role models at the very top and speaks about those situations because I think it can encourage a lot of people to talk.’
Social issues played a key role in Friday’s press conference, with Eidevall then questioned about the infamous squad photo that has sparked intense discourse on social media – as it notably lacks racial diversity.Embed from Getty Images
‘I think when we come from North London, very proud of our community and a diverse community, the history of the club, both the men’s first team and the women’s first team as a very proud history of players coming from diverse backgrounds as well. I’m very proud of that. So us not having that diversity today, of course, that is a problem. I think women’s football has a diversity problem.’