Key Matildas rested for Spain, Portugal

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Sam Kerr headlines Australia's top players who will be rested for two tough friendlies against Spain and Portugal, with the Matildas opting to take a youthful squad to Europe.

Kerr, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Kyah Simon and Hayley Raso, plus the injured Ellie Carpenter, are among the notable absences.

The squad is a mix of experienced players who are in-season at their clubs, youngsters and fringe Matildas, with coach Tony Gustavsson keen to test his depth ahead of next year's Women's World Cup and give other players a chance to rest or manage injuries.

Australia will play world No.7 Spain, who have players such as Barcelona stars Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso, for the first time on Saturday, 25 June (local) at Estadio Nuevo Colombino in Huelva.

Three days later, they face world No.29 Portugal for the first time since 2018, at the Estadio Antonio Coimbra da Mota in Estoril.

"Selection for this June squad has been based on a combination of factors but ultimately it has been about individualising player programs with a long-term view," Gustavsson said.

"For some players this has meant being a part of these invaluable matches with Spain and Portugal providing a chance to demonstrate how they can make our team stronger.

"For another cohort, it results in being pro-active around recurring ailments and re-establishing a fitness baseline without the need to focus on peaking for matches."

A-League Women guns Mackenzie Hawkesby, Taylor Ray and Matilda McNamara have earned their first call-ups.

Former teen sensation Jacynta Galabadaarachchi could also debut, returning to the Australian fold after a breakout season at Celtic.

Striker Larissa Crummer is the feel-good story, earning her first call-up since breaking her leg in January, 2019.

Hawkesby was delighted to follow former Sydney FC teammates Clare Wheeler, Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine in being rewarded for standout ALW form.

"Obviously the past year or so I've been pushing to get selected," Hawkesby told AAP.

"Seeing my (Sydney FC) teammates get selected is really good. We're all doing well but to finally get rewarded, it's the most exciting thing.

"I've wanted this forever, my whole life, ever since I became a footballer.

"It's probably the most exciting time of my life."

Hawkesby and many of the younger players are also in an Australian representative team that will travel to the Philippines for the 2022 AFF Women's Championship, which runs from July 4-17.

MATILDAS SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams

Defenders: Angela Beard, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley*, Matilda McNamara*, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne

Midfielders: Alex Chidiac, Emily van Egmond, Katrina Gorry, Mackenzie Hawkesby*, Taylor Ray*, Amy Sayer, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop

Forwards: Larissa Crummer, Jacynta Galabadaarachchi*, Emily Gielnik, Princess Ibini, Rachel Lowe, Remy Siemsen, Cortnee Vine

* yet to debut

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