Graham Arnold says the fresh faces in his Caltex Socceroos squad will add a new energy to his side and he’s urged them to make a statement in his first game in charge against Kuwait later this month.
Arnold named a 25-player squad on Friday that included four uncapped youngsters and the return of attacking aces Mathew Leckie and Tom Rogic.
The squad will assemble in the Middle East next week for a training camp before the clash in Kuwait on Tuesday, October 16 (AEST).
“We’re going there to win the game, expecting to win the game,” Arnold told reporters on Friday.
“It’s about making a statement, a statement of the new way we are going to play with these fresh faces. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get into camp and get working on the pitch again with the players.
“The Kuwait game is preparation for the Asian Cup. You can make six subs over there but it won’t be experimental. The players that deserve to play and the players that perform well in the training sessions (will play).
“Every time you pull on the Australian shirt, there are no friendly games. Every game you go out there expecting to win.”
Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng, PEC Zwolle playmaker Denis Genreau, Denmark-based winger Awer Mabil and Scottish-born winger Martin Boyle are the uncapped players in Arnold’s squad.
Boyle, who plays alongside Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren at Hibernian, is yet to receive clearance to play for Australia but has expressed a desire to pull on the green and gold - the nation of his father’s birth.
He’ll take part in the training camp in the UAE but isn’t eligible to face Kuwait.
Asked about the fresh faces in his squad, Arnold said: “With the national team we need to make the pool bigger and that comes from the kids coming through.
“These young boys were in camp in Turkey and they represented themselves so well. I watched Denis Genreau on the weekend live against AZ Alkmaar and the kid is doing exceptionally well. Once you do well it doesn’t matter where you are playing you will be recognised or you’ll be looked at with me and rewarded.
“We have good balance in the squad now, we have players who I believe are ripe and are at a great age, we have a couple of elder statesman and we’ve got players who have been to one or even two World Cups already at the age of 26, 27.
“We need some kids coming through and those kids are coming. The Arzani’s, Gersbach, Mabil, Genreau, they add a lot of energy to the squad and I’m excited with it.”
The Kuwait match is the first of three key friendlies before Australia’s AFC Asian Cup defence in the UAE in January.
The Caltex Socceroos will play two more friendlies on home soil next month against Korea Republic in Brisbane on Saturday, November 17, before taking on Lebanon in Sydney three days later.
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