Caltex Socceroos call-up just reward for impressive Dougall

From being relegated in the Netherlands to a fresh start in England’s League One, it’s been an interesting few months for midfielder Kenneth Dougall.

But the 25-year-old has made an excellent start to life with promotion hopefuls Barnsley, earning Dougall a first call-up for the Caltex Socceroos on Thursday.

READ: The bolters in Arnold's first Caltex Socceroos squad
READHow to get tickets to Caltex Socceroos v Lebanon

Dougall – who has played four times for Australia’s U23 side – is part of Graham Arnold’s 31-man squad for a training camp in Turkey next month.

It’s a reward for a number of consistent seasons in Europe, including four years at Sparta Rotterdam where he became a key cog in their midfield.

But relegation from the Eredivisie last season saw Dougall head to England where he’s hit the ground running with Barnsley.

A strong start to the new campaign – playing all five games for the unbeaten Tykes who sit fifth – has enabled Dougall to get his shot in Arnold’s first squad.

“It’s great to get a call up for your country. For me it’s the first time, I’m excited and obviously delighted,” he said following his selection.

Kenneth Dougall fronts the media in Barnsley after his Caltex Socceroos selection.
Kenneth Dougall fronts the media in Barnsley after his selection in Graham Arnold's Caltex Socceroos squad.

Dougall added of how he found out of his inclusion: “I haven’t actually spoken to the boss yet. I’ll do that in the training camp.

“There was a little bit of interest last season, but a new gaffer has come in so maybe he wants to have a look at some new players and he gets the chance to do it in this window.

“It happened quite quickly. A few weeks ago I got a text and it’s announced today. I’m quite happy.”

Dougall is relishing the chance to get into camp with the squad, which will assemble in Antalya from September 3-11.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Sainsbury's PSV to face Messi's Barcelona

An all-action midfielder who can also play at centre-back, Dougall is excited about training alongside the likes of midfield stars Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo and Jackson Irvine.

“It’s disappointing there’s no game because as footballers that what you want to do, you want to play games and get capped for your nation,” he said.

“But training will be good. It will be enjoyable, it will be hard work I’m really looking forward to it.

Dougall added: “I know a couple of the boys in there but the rest will be new faces to me.

“It will be like coming to a new team, to a new club. It’s exciting and also challenging.”

Kenny Dougall
Dougall playing for Sparta Rotterdam last season.