10 things we learned from Graham Arnold’s first press conference
When Graham Arnold addressed the assembled media for his first press conference in charge of the Caltex Socceroos, there were a lot of subjects to cover. Here we pick out 10 key statements which reveal something about how Arnie may approach this new era.
1. Replacing Cahill
“The way that we played was very reliant on Timmy to score those goals and I will do that differently.”
“Timmy’s a legend of the game. We have the utmost respect for Timmy and what he did for the country but football’s not about one person. It’s about, on the field, getting the key men on the ball, getting key players in goalscoring opportunities, getting numbers in the box to score.
“I have a clear plan in mind for the players, of what they can do and what they will do, and I’m very excited about the future. We have the players already there that can score those goals.”
2. Scoring more goals
“Everyone says I need a goalscorer and Usain [Bolt] hasn’t been capped yet by Jamaica…. That was a joke!”
“Goalscoring doesn’t just happen from the tap in or the person that scores – attack starts from the back and defence starts from the front.
“Getting the right players on the ball, giving them the key to open the door, for the goalscorers, is crucial. Do I believe we have those players? Yes I do. We have Arzani, we have Rogic, we have Mooy. We have the quality in the front half of the pitch that can do that.”
3. Coaching the Olyroos
“I do feel that being able to do both teams will inject a lot of new young blood into the Socceroos quicker and I do believe that is what we need right now.
“A lot of the golden generation, the 2006 World Cup squad, I’ve rung at least 10 of them and spoken to them about the most important period of their development.
“It working with the same coaching staff, in an international program that went from the Under 20s to the Under 23s and coincided with the Socceroos. We looked at stats, for example, Brett Emerton, by the time he was 23, he had played 76 international games compared to the 2018 squad where Matthew Leckie was the highest at 41 so it’s something I’m very passionate about.
“I love this game of football, it’s a job that will not distract my focus and I am very clear that my full focus is on the Socceroos.”
4. The importance of belief
“It’s about those kids going out there and believing in themselves because I know that they can score.”
“They have to have belief in themselves, and communication is a big thing as well. Just talking to Jamie Maclaren over the phone the other day, you can tell that kid really believes in himself and it’s my job to give him that belief to go onto the field and to do what he does best. And Tommy Juric, and Matthew Leckie and Robbie Kruse and Daniel Arzani.”
5. The stars of the future
“I know they will come, it’s a matter of giving them opportunities.”
“I went and watched an under-17 camp the other day with the Joeys. I saw 70 kids at the age of 15 or 16 and I saw stuff I’ve never seen before in Australian football.
“Those kids that were at North Narrabeen with the Joeys, they were three or four years old when the curriculum started. These kids are now coming. I’m so excited about the future.
“I know the FFA have spoken about expansion, expansion is coming. We are doing everything to make opportunities for the kids.”
6. Learning from his previous role as head coach in 2007
“I do feel that I walked away from that a much better coach.
“That was about a century ago! I inherited a job that I didn’t deserve. Trying to replace Guus Hiddink was like trying to go from the top to the bottom in one go.
“I’ve gone away into the A-League and I’ve worked really hard and I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and I do feel I deserve this opportunity and I’m ready for this opportunity.
7. Respect for his predecessors
“Ange did a great job for the country and there’s nothing but respect.”
“Nothing but respect for Ange [Postecoglu]. I’ve seen quite a bit of what he’s done behind the scenes that you guys don’t see – about building that badge of honour and pride and that will continue under me.
“For a guy who came in for the short term, for six months, I think the recruitment of Bert [van Marwijk] was a great idea. The players clearly connected with him and it’s a very difficult task that we asked him to do. For him to come out with his head held high and the nation to hold their held high after the performances that we put in was very good.”
8. Three or four at the back?
“We can sit here and talk about systems. Systems don’t make players, players make systems.”
“Probably the way to go is a back four because they did really well. Midfield is a different story, I have got to look really close at that.
“For me it’s about being flexible, some games you may need to play a back three, some games you play a back four but the most important thing is the principles stay the same.
9. Is Arnie missing the Hyundai A-League?
“It’s shaping up to be a very exciting year.”
“I miss the day-to-day coaching on the grass. It’s good to be on the outside and talking to the clubs. I can be friends with the coaches again! [Keisuke] Honda’s a fantastic piece of recruitment and it’s good to hear the noise that other marquees may come in as well.
10. The challenge ahead
“My main focus, my main goal is the Asian Cup.”
“I’m really looking forward to my first camp in September. We’ve put a great plan in place for the Olympic team, we’ve had great support from the A-League clubs. My main focus, my main goal is the Asian Cup. We are current champions of the Asia.
“You saw Japan and South Korea, how well they did at the World Cup so it’s a wonderful challenge. It’s about exposing people to that opportunity to that challenge. In many ways it’s short term, but I’m the type of person that looks at the long term and I’m excited to work with this group of players.