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Kyra Cooney-Cross: Who is Arsenal's New Midfielder?

After a summer shining in her home World Cup, young star Cooney-Cross was snatched up by Arsenal from Swedish side Hammarby at the end of the women's transfer window. But who is Kyra Cooney-Cross and what can she bring to the Gunners?

Kyra Cooney-Cross began her footballing career in her home country of Australia. Between 2017 and 2022, she played in Australia's top-tier of women's football, the A-League, which at the time was called the W-League.

Making her professional debut at the age of 15, Cooney-Cross quickly settled into the first team at W-League side Melbourne Victory. Her first stint with Melbourne Victory for the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons saw her play 16 out of a total of 24 matches, scoring two goals and being a part of the W-League title winning squad in the 18/19 season.

Cooney-Cross then moved to Western Sydney Wanderers for the 19/20 season, scoring on her debut with a 92nd minute free-kick that gave her new side the win. She then went on to play in all 12 of their league games and reached the back of the net on 4 occasions.

She then made her return to Melbourne Victory for the 20/21 and 21/22 seasons. Cooney-Cross made her mark within the team after scoring directly from a corner in the 120th minute of the 20/21 W-League grand final to crown her team as champions. Her Melbourne side then repeated their previous success by winning the grand final for a second consecutive year in the 21/22 season.

Cooney-Cross transferred to Swedish side Hammarby in 2022 to play in the Damallsvenskan, the highest division of women's football in Sweden.

She made an immediate impact during her time in Sweden, making 30 appearances during her year-and-a-half long stint at Hammarby, scoring one goal. She also won the Swedish Cup (Svenska Cupen) with Hammarby in 2023.

At international level, Kyra Cooney-Cross has played a key role in Australia's side over recent years, making her first-team debut against Denmark in June 2021 and now being a regular starter for the Matildas, having a total of 39 appearances for her country.

In her early international career, Cooney-Cross scored six goals in the 2017 Asian Football Confederation Under 16's Championship as well as six goals in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Under 19's Championship.

At just 17 years old, Cooney-Cross was named as a standby player for Australia's 2019 World Cup squad. She was also selected for the Tokyo 2020/2021 Olympics where the Matildas reached the semi-final.

Kyra Cooney-Cross was called up by Australia for the 2023 World Cup which they co-hosted with New Zealand. She played an integral part of the Matildas' midfield during their home tournament, starting all 7 of their matches, including the semi-final against England and the third-place play-off against Sweden.

Gaining an assist and having an 80.1% passing success rate across all of her World Cup matches, as well as having amazing attacking and defensive performances, proved Cooney-Cross to be a very talented midfielder.

During the World Cup, Cooney-Cross defended well against talented strikers Alessia Russo and Stina Blackstenius in Australia' semi-final and third-place play-off, with both of these attackers now becoming her teammates at her new club.

Cooney-Cross played a massive part in helping Australia achieve their best-ever World Cup finish, as the Matildas finished in fourth place.

It was the brilliance she showcased during her home World Cup that caught the eye of Arsenal, earning her a contract to play for a top Women's Super League side.

At such a young age, Kyra Cooney-Cross has huge potential to develop into one of the best female football players.

Having already played alongside Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley at international level, Cooney-Cross should fit in easily with Jonas Eidevall's Gunners. With Foord and Catley already making an incredible pairing when on the pitch, Cooney-Cross will only add to this by playing her part between the two in the midfield.

She will play alongside some of the most talented and well-experienced players in the WSL at Arsenal, helping her to further develop her skills and talents.

Although she is unlikely to start many games for the Gunners this season, Cooney-Cross will definitely gain minutes off of the bench and will still play a big role in Arsenal's midfield.

Kyra Cooney-Cross was an exceptional signing by Eidevall's side, as having squad-depth is important for a club that is hoping to compete for the WSL title, and in a year or two, Cooney-Cross would have gained valuable experience within a strong side and will be hoping to start games on a more regular basis.

She has an outstanding passing ability and can play in a variety of midfield positions. During her international appearances for Australia, she has played as a central midfielder, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, left midfielder and has even played on the left wing.

Kyra Cooney-Cross' versatility will be a massive asset to Arsenal, as she provides Jonas Eidevall with a strong option who can play anywhere across the midfield and even up front.

Although Arsenal have been knocked out of the Champions League, there will be other competitions offering silverware for the Gunners to compete for, such as the Conti Cup, in which Cooney-Cross would be a big boost to the Reds, allowing Eidevall to rest players whilst still having a strong starting eleven.

Arsenal's new number 32 is definitely a young player to watch out for in the WSL and cup tournaments this season.

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