Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is still to settle on his final line-up. Picture: Getty Images
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is still to settle on his final line-up. Picture: Getty Images

Arnold announces ‘positions vacant’ for Socceroos

WITH the countdown until the Asian Cup inching towards one month, Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has challenged his fringe stars to force their way on to the main bill.

Revealing that more than a quarter of his 23-man squad is still to be determined, Arnold said players had the perfect opportunity to stake a late claim for inclusion as Australia seeks to retain the title won on home soil almost four years ago.

From goalkeeper to striker, Arnold said he was ready for a late burst of form "to change my mind" - naming a clutch of A-League stars in contention.

Arnold will gather his squad later this month, aiming to maximise the preparation time before the tournament kicks off for the Socceroos against Jordan on January 6.

 

"I was very happy with what I saw in the two games against South Korea and Lebanon (last month), and there's probably six spots up for grabs," Arnold said, adding the vacancies were in "every department" across his squad.

"There's one position available in each. Players who are in form and ready (will be picked), and players who have shown experience in the past that they step up for major competitions.

"Playing time is always important but we have almost two weeks (in camp) before the first game. They're all fit, we're right across that. We get all the training data, what they've done every day."

The Socceroos will be chasing back-to-back Asian Cup titles in the UAE this month. Picture: Getty Images
The Socceroos will be chasing back-to-back Asian Cup titles in the UAE this month. Picture: Getty Images

Arnold refused to rule out what were dubbed "left-field selections", as he ponders the ideal mix for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

"You never know - the A-League boys are showing a lot," he said.

"I was impressed with Craig Goodwin in camp, Chris Ikonomidis is excellent every week.

"Adam Taggart is scoring goals and he's back in contention. Those spots are still open, so the players have the opportunity to change my mind.

"We've made a lot of changes in a short time, but what I've been really impressed with is how quickly the boys take the information in.

"You can see we've changed the whole way we play. We expect high standards, we expect high quality in the final third.

"It's a different way, but one I believe suits the players."

News Corp Australia


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