Love ready to captain Scotland for the first time
Women’s International Challenge Match
Scotland v Norway
La Manga Club, La Manga
Friday, 19 January 2018, 5pm (UK time)
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There’s not much Jo Love hasn’t done in her 182 caps for Scotland but in their opening match of 2018, she will pull on the Captain’s armband for the first time.
Making her debut in 2002 against Canada as a 16-year-old, the girl from Kilbirnie couldn’t have predicated what else was to come her way.
Juggling a full-time job during her time playing for the national team, Love has been an integral part of the national team and will now captain her country, taking over from the injured Rachel Corsie for two games against Norway and Russia.
“Being called ‘Captain’ is bizarre but it’s music to my ears and such a privilege,” Love said.
“It’s one of my proudest moments of my footballing career and I really appreciate the position I’m in at the moment.
“Becoming captain is not something I’ve obsessed myself over but whenever I come away with the squad I look to be as big a part of the team as possible.
“First and foremost I’m here as a teammate and a friend of the girls. If they look up to me then that is nice as well and I’m always happy to give advice when asked.”
Currently employed as a Consumer Protection Analyst for Glasgow Scientific Services, Love is in La Manga for the first of two winter training camps as preparation for the next two World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Poland hots up.
The 32-year-old is the former teammate of head coach Shelley Kerr who was delighted to name Love as her skipper for the upcoming two games.
Kerr said: “Jo was just a fresh faced teenager when she broke into the squad and it’s a credit to her and her work ethic that she is still able to perform to such a high level consistently.
“She’s developed well over the years and one thing that epitomises her is that she is one of the players who has had to juggle a full-time job as well as play at a high level.
“To do that and consistently play well is really inspiring.”
Rachael Small has been reintroduced having missed out on Scotland’s last two qualifiers.
She was part of Hibernian’s SSE Scottish Women's Cup winning squad last year and replaces Lucy Graham.
Abigail Harrison is also in line for her first cap having been included after Lana Clelland had to withdraw from the original squad.
Rachel Corsie was a late call-off with a knee injury and has been replaced by Hibernian defender Rachel McLauchlan.
What to expect from Norway?
Ranked 14th in the world, the Norwegians are a dangerous side who have a point to prove following a disappointing Euro 2017 campaign where they lost all three matches.
They have started their World Cup qualification campaign with two wins and a loss.
In their previous two meetings with Scotland, they have won one match and drawn the other.
They have a number of high-profile players including their Captain, Maren Mjelde who is teammates with Erin Cuthbert at Chelsea.