Player profile by Jordan Jones
In what is a youthful squad where experience is key, forward Natasha Harding is vital in helping to balance the new with the tried and tested. Vice-captain of Wales, Harding has experienced something of a meteoric rise in a career spanning 10 years.
After five years at Cardiff City where she captained the side to the Premier Division, Harding earned the chance to play in the top flight with Bristol Academy, where she burst onto the scene with eight goals in 39 appearances.
She went on to represent Manchester City, last season’s WSL Champions, as well as donning the red of Liverpool, along with Wales team-mate and captain Sophie Ingle.
And her career achievements are not limited to what she’s been doing at club level. Her performances in the 2015/2016 season earned her one of the biggest accolades a player can receive – she was named Welsh Women’s Player of the Year in 2016.
The award for the Caerphilly born-forward highlighted how highly regarded she was to both her teammates and the Welsh public.
Harding, 28, boasts four goals for Liverpool, ranking her as the joint second top scorer in the Women’s Super League so far this season.
She scored a superb individual hat-trick against Sunderland, her clinical finishing showcasing why she is so vital to Jayne Ludlow’s squad for the doubleheader with Kazakhstan and Bosnia.
Harding has displayed her passion for the game on the pitch and has represented her country fifty times.
The former Cardiff City forward was almost the hero in Wales’ last match as her early shot looked to have given the Dragons victory out in St Petersburg, but for an instinctive save from Tatyana Shcherbak, which kept the game goalless.
Throughout her career, Harding has been described as a creative player, with pace and speed and the Kazakhs will need to be wary of her, not least because she has experience of scoring against them on home soil – back in 2015.
With Wales currently topping the group and boasting an unbeaten record from two games, Harding could just prove to be the go-to-girl for tomorrow’s fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium.