Back in the fold: in-form Giannou ready for striking battle in Antalya

It has been close to two years since Apostolos Giannou last donned the green and gold jersey in a competitive international fixture.

But the start of the Graham Arnold era could be just what the 28-year-old needs to press his claim for the role of Caltex Socceroos front man.

He'll face stiff competition from the likes of Tomi Juric, Mitchell Duke, Jamie Maclaren and John Iredale as the strikers audition for the number nine jersey in Turkey.

However, Giannou is doing everything he can to impress the new Australia boss after learning he’d be part of Arnold’s Antalya training camp a week ago.

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“It was a very nice text to wake up to,” he said.

“My main goal is to try and be with the national team, to try and perform here and do whatever the coach wants and needs in the game.

“Obviously he’s going to put his own style of play in the team and I want to adapt very quickly to that.”

Apo Giannou

 

Giannou’s call up has been just reward for an impressive start to life for AEK Larnaca following his signing from Guangzhou R&F in January.

He helped the Cypriot heavyweights clinch the Cypriot Cup in May and has just played a pivotal role in the team’s qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.

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That run was crowned by a qualifying round second leg brace against Slovakian side AS Trencin, which has now set up Group A dates with 1987/88 winners Bayer Leverkusen, FC Zurich and Ludogorets.

“These are the games you look forward to,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Leverkusen – it’s a big club, but it’s always good to be the underdog in every game because a lot of people don’t expect you to come and perform.

“It’s the third time I’ll play in the Europa League and it’s always special."

The Naousa-born forward has scored four goals and registered seven assists in 17 matches for AEK Larnaca.