Arnold challenges his Caltex Socceroos to show their quality against Kuwait
The preparations are complete and new boss Graham Arnold now wants his Caltex Socceroos to show their quality in Tuesday morning’s (AEDT) friendly against Kuwait.
Australian football’s new era gets underway at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium as Arnold takes charge of his first game since taking the reins after this year’s FIFA World Cup.
Expectations are high within the squad after a flawless week-long training camp in Dubai to prepare for the match, with Arnold anticipating a dominant performance from his side.
“Every time we go onto the pitch to play it’s not a friendly match, it’s a serious match,” the Caltex Socceroos boss said at his official pre-match press conference.
“We’ve been training hard, I expect us to go out and win the game and I expect us to go out and play to the principles we’ve been training.
“We’ve got a fit group of players, we have a healthy group of players and players that show a lot of quality.
“It’s all about the quality being shown in the match after all the quality they have been showing on the training pitch.”
The Kuwait clash is the first in three important friendlies over the next month in the build-up towards January’s AFC Asian Cup title defence in the UAE.
And it’s also the first opportunity to get a look at the way Arnold wants his team to play.
The Caltex Socceroos boss has promised to unleash his players’ attacking instincts and allow them to be adaptable to any situation.
“We will play in a flexible style with the quality of our players,” Arnold said.
“As I’ve said many times before, systems don’t make players, players make the systems, it’s only starting positions.
“The quality that we have in the front half of the field I expect to be shown [on Tuesday morning AEDT].
“Every time they put on the Australian shirt, it’s about winning. It’s about creating a winning mentality and Australian’s are well known for that.”
One of the more interesting selection areas for Arnold is who he’ll pick to lead the attack.
With Tim Cahill retiring after the FIFA World Cup and Andrew Nabbout unavailable after only recently returning from a shoulder injury, the striking position is up for grabs.
Arnold said he would use the final training session to decide between the likes of Apostolos Giannou, Tomi Juric and Mathew Leckie to lead the line, but admitted every position was up for grabs heading towards January’s AFC Asian Cup.
“At this moment I have 23 players who are fit, 23 players who are expecting to play and 23 players that want to go on the field and perform to the best of their ability with the motivation to be selected for the Asian Cup,” he said.
“This is their time to show me.”
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