Socceroos fullback Aziz Behich says the familial culture fostered in Graham Arnold's camps is helping the younger players aspiring to earn their first international caps to feel at home in the 31-man squad.
Arnold called seven potential debutants into his squad which ventured to Dubai for a training camp ahead of four FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™️ qualifiers in Kuwait between June 4-16 (AEST).
Behich, 30, is one of the most experienced members of Arnold's current squad with 38 Socceroos appearances to his name. Along with the seven uncapped members of the squad, there are eight players with less than 10 games for Australia's senior side under their belt.
Speaking to FOX Sports News on Monday night, Behich said making the more inexperienced players feel welcome and encouraging them to flourish is of the utmost importance in the Socceroos camp, as strength in depth will be put to the test across the upcoming qualification run.
"It’s great to have new faces in camp all the time," he said.
"They’ve all blended in really (easily).
We’ve got a culture here where anybody who comes in fits right in.
We’ve got a family-type culture here, so it will be great to see those boys hopefully get some game time.
"We’re all here for one job, and that’s to get the four wins."
TALKING POINTS: Read all about the seven uncapped players in the squad
"It’s great to have depth in our squad," Behich added.
"We’ve got a lot of games coming up and everyone is going to have to play a part in these qualifiers at some stage.
"We push each other every day - that’s the most important thing. To bring up each other’s level on the training pitch every single day.
"We have a great squad, a lot of depth and not just experienced players but a lot of young boys coming in as well.
"Everyone is going to have to play their part at some stage, so it’s really exciting."
After a week of training in Dubai, Behich and his Socceroos teammates touched down in Kuwait to finish preparing for upcoming games against Kuwait, Chinese Taipei, Nepal and Jordan.
The Socceroos took four wins from four early in the qualification campaign to go top of Group B, with the group winner or one of the best four runners-up set to advance to the third round of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™️.
Facing Kuwait on June 4 (kick-off 5.00am AEST) ends an 18-month wait for international football which began on November 15, 2019 when Australia beat Jordan 1-0. Behich says the long-awaited return of international football has the whole camp excited as the new-look squad resumes its journey toward Qatar 2022.
"We’ve been in Dubai for about a week now," he said.
"We’ve all missed each other, I can say that. We’re just very excited. We’ve been working hard on the pitch this week, it’s been a great training camp. We move to Kuwait today and start focussing on our first game.
Behich added: "it’s been a long time coming for us, a long 18 months but the majority of us have all met up in Dubai now, we’re all excited, it’s great to see all the faces again and obviously a few new faces also."
"We’re just very excited to be back together and kick off these games."
Australia v Kuwait
Thursday, 3 June 2021 (4 June AEST)
Venue: Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium
Kick-off: 10.00pm local, 5:00am AEST (Friday morning)
Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports, ABC TV, and My Football Live App.
Australia v Chinese Taipei
Nepal v Australia
Australia v Jordan