Caldwell explains her 'in spite of Pauw' comments

Caldwell explains her 'in spite of Pauw' comments

Republic of Ireland defender Diane Caldwell has revealed her "in spite of Pauw" comments from September 2023 stemmed from a desire to prove herself after featuring so little at Ireland's maiden World Cup last summer.

Caldwell (35) only played the last few moments of a 0-0 draw with Nigeria in the final group game of former manager Vera Pauw's reign.

Shortly after Pauw was sacked, and interim manager Eileen Gleeson was brought in. Speculative feuds with players and Pauw dominated the Irish sports media. Questions were put to the players about their relationship with Pauw.

On the eve of the Northern Ireland game and their opening Nations League fixture, Caldwell was asked about Pauw and Gleeson's management and claimed that the players were responsible for the successful period of the Irish team and not their former manager, Pauw.

"From my position as a pretty experienced player, I don't think it was up to the standard I expected at the international level," she said in September.

"I think the results and performances that we got were in spite of Vera being our coach."

Caldwell also went on to say that many aspects were now better under Gleeson, in what was seen as a scathing attack on her former manager.

Former Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw speaks to Diane Caldwell (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

"I think there are many areas that could have been better under her tenure. The same performance factors I just mentioned. I think preparation for games could have been better: physical preparation, opponent analysis, match tactics, in-game match tactics, changes, systems of play."

Since then, Ireland has won six out of six games in the Nations League and has been promoted to League A. The Irish side are now going to face better sides and have a better chance of making it to the Euros in 2025 under Gleeson.

Caldwell was asked this week about her comments about Pauw in September. The Ireland player explained that her comments came from frustration over a lack of playing time at the World Cup. The Irish defender claims all she ever wanted to do was enjoy her football at the end of the day.

"My thinking was, I missed out on playing at the biggest stage at the World Cup, and that really, really hurt me" she added this week

"When Eileen came in and gave me the chance to start, I just wanted to enjoy playing again. I just wanted to embrace having the jersey on my back again, playing in front of the Irish fans.

"A big moment for me was the Aviva game [against Northern Ireland]. I really wanted to do it for myself—to focus on things I can control, focus on playing well, and enjoy being out there with the girls again—because honestly, I really missed that for a long time.

"You always want to be playing; you always want to be qualifying for tournaments; that's been my goal since I first started playing for Ireland all those years ago. So obviously, [making it to the Euros] is another goal that never changes, regardless of the situation or the circumstances. That’s a big goal."