After having arguably the best season in her career, Katie McCabe should be confident ahead of her World Cup send off to Australia. Having won WSL Goal of the Season, Arsenal's Player of the Season and featuring in the Champions League Team of the Season, captaining Ireland to their first ever major tournament doesn't seem so daunting.
With the 27-year-old Dubliner being made Ireland's youngest ever captain at just 21 in 2017, McCabe now has 6 years of international captaincy under her belt.
Ireland's opening game of their first major tournament is a tough one, as they face World Cup hosts, Australia, on the first day of the tournament, putting McCabe to the test from the get-go. Their group stage also consists of games against Canada and Nigeria, making a tricky route to the Round of 16, with Ireland needing a strong leader in McCabe in order to power through.
With WSL club Arsenal losing their captain choices due to injuries, Katie McCabe stepped up towards the end of the season to take over the role, filling Kim Little and Leah Williamson's boots successfully, leading Arsenal to Champions League qualification. Having captained the Girls in Green for the last 6 years, McCabe felt confident she could be a captain at club level, providing her with even more experience with the armband before she heads off to Australia to captain Ireland's first World Cup side.
McCabe is well-known for her no-nonsense attitude on the pitch, often getting up close and personal with the referee and assistant referees if she disagrees with a decision. Although she often receives a yellow-card for her attitude and behaviour, it is this strong personality that makes her such a great captain at both international and club level, as she is not afraid to stand up for and motivate her team.
It is important for a captain to be extremely vocal and defend their players against tough in-game decisions, as well as dealing with the team off of the pitch. Katie McCabe has struck the right balance between the two, being a rock for her teammates, whilst not being afraid to tell them when and what to improve, making her an outstanding captain.
Captaincy aside, as a player, McCabe is extremely versatile, playing as both a full-back and a winger, making her crucial to Ireland's first World Cup side. Vera Pauw has unlimited options with a player like McCabe, from playing her up front to score some screamers, to dropping her back to defend if her side is a goal or two up.
Katie McCabe is well-deserving of the armband, and worthy of being written into the history books, becoming Ireland's first captain at a major tournament, with the hope to add to her international goal tally whilst doing so.