Jess Fishlock column: Wales midfielder on pride of nearing 100 caps

Jess Fishlock

It's huge for me personally to have the chance to win 100 caps for Wales. Getting to that many caps and be the first Welsh player ever to do that will be something of a dream.

It's a place in history. Even now the highest player, for the men's or women's team, has not reached 100 caps and I am now on 99.

I love playing for my country, it means the absolute world to me but with this group of players, they're some of the closest friends I have.

Where we're at right now, it will be a pleasure to do it with this group.

It won't just be me winning 100 caps when it happens, it'll be many people, and I think they will all be extremely happy and emotional.

It never really crossed my mind to get to 100, or be the first one to ever do it, to be honest. Every time I put the jersey on, it feels like it could be my last.

There have been moments when I have thought that it would be my last and that was a horrible feeling, but now I appreciate every time I get the chance to put it on.

I give everything I can because I truly do love representing my country.

Looking ahead to World Cup qualifying

Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock made her Wales debut in 2006

We'll find out who we are playing in our 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign at the end of next month and from then we will prepare for the teams that we will be playing.

When Wales manager Jayne Ludlow came in, her first campaign was always going to be a transitional period. The players that she has and wants and needs, she has to develop.

I think she has done a great job of trying to figure those things out. We're still not quite where we want to be or need to be come September when the campaign starts but we're in a very good place.

We've still got loads of games to go to get us to where we want to be and I believe under Jayne it's something that we will get to and achieve.

For us, getting to a major tournament is our number one priority and it's all we want to do and anything less than that moving forward is probably not good enough for where we want to get to.

To retire or not to retire

Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock (right) celebrates winning consecutive titles with Melbourne City

I'm getting old now. It's hard playing international and club football. I've been doing it for over a decade. It's hard and taxing on the body and mind.

There have been so many different managers and groups and every time we get close there's just something that happens that doesn't happen. It takes its toll mentally and physically.

That's why all over the world, men and women, you see people retire from international football and you question why they do it.

It's really hard and I've got to think of myself and my body but the reality of it is, I love playing for my country and if I'm still playing after this campaign and the manager still thinks I can help, then who knows?

I want to see Wales qualify for a World Cup campaign whether that's with me playing or helping in some capacity.

My love for football and football in Wales is not just because I play it, it's because I genuinely want us to succeed and get to a major tournament, playing or coaching, or sorting the kits or water bottles, I don't really care.

A successful Cyprus Cup

Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock started for Wales in their penalty shoot-out defeat by Scotland

Before we even went into the penalty shoot-out in our fifth-place play-off against Scotland, we knew we had a lot of youngsters on the pitch by that point.

We were so pleased with the way we played. Like Jayne said, for her it was a win, we were up against a very good side and probably could have scored a couple of goals.

We're pleased with the result and it finished off a really good Cyprus Cup for us.

We took a lot of our experienced players off and the quality never dropped, the game plan never changed, and they held a strong Scotland side by that point.

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