Lisa De Vanna: ‘I used to lose my mind about simple things’ | Richard Parkin

Ahead of her fourth World Cup appearance, the veteran Matildas striker talks about a career-long quest for perfection, her volatile past and a new role within Ante Milicic’s squad

In the highly sanitised and carefully cultivated image-conscious modern world there are few professional athletes like Lisa De Vanna. Never afraid to speak her mind, the 34-year-old has had almost as many clubs as years spent as a professional footballer. Yet as she approaches the twilight of her playing career there’s a sense a more self-contented De Vanna has finally come to terms with her emotions.

Ahead of her first World Cup, De Vanna was described by her then coach Alistair Edwards as “high maintenance”, “a brat” and possessing mood swings “like the stock market crash of 1987”. It was a tempestuous relationship, and Edwards was not alone in having difficulties with De Vanna. But coaches around the world continued to persist for one simple reason: the lightning-quick forward was prodigiously talented.

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