Natasha Harding was given a pat on the back from Wales manager Jayne Ludlow after the striker blasted a hat-trick in her team’s emphatic 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands.
Harding’s goals formed half the total of a dominant Wales display as they opened their Women’s Euro 2021 campaign in style in Torshavn in driving rain on an artificial surface.
Further strikes from Kayleigh Green, Emma Jones and an own goal reflected Wales’ control as they warmed up for a tougher assignment in their next tie at home to Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
“I’m really happy with the team effort and I’m pleased that Tash scored a hat-trick tonight – she performed well and hopefully it’ll continue for the rest of the campaign,” said Ludlow.
“It’s a great start to have six goals and clean sheet but we have plenty more to come, starting against Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
“We can be better. Every game we will feel there is still room for development.
“Our in-possession game was great at time. We didn’t take all the chances we probably deserved to take, but the good thing for us is we start the campaign with three points.
“We have a team full of individuals with different strengths and we can vary how we play in possession. So it was really nice to see those strengths come to the fore.”
Harding – newly appointed as captain of Reading – admitted there is further expectation on Wales now after their last qualification campaign, for the World Cup, went down to the final game.
“It was a perfect day for us apart from the weather,” said the 30-year-old former Liverpool player.
“It was always going to be tough and we were pretty nervous going into this game, because it is unknown pressure that we have never had before.
“There is the pressure we put on ourselves and from others outside the camp, so it was good to get off the mark.
“We were a bit frustrated at times, but all in all we are very happy.”
Such was the comfort Wales enjoyed that Ludlow was able to give a debut to 15-year-old Carrie Jones, who came on as a substitute for the final 10 minutes when Wales were 5-0 ahead.
The Cardiff City youngster said: “It was a dream for me, the girls did really well to get the scoreline really high and then luckily I got game time to go on the pitch, so I was over the moon.”