‘I am really happy to be here’: Giannou delighted to be part of Socceroos' AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ campaign

It may just be the best ‘Happy New Year’ message that Apostolos Giannou ever gets. 

The 28-year-old forward was relaxing at home in the early hours of the morning on January 1 when he received an unexpected call from Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. 

Soon afterwards, the Melbourne-bred player was packing his bags and heading to the airport to make his way to the Middle East for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™, replacing the injured Martin Boyle in Arnold’s squad.

LOOKING FORWARD: Nabbout ready to shoulder responsibility
LIVE BLOG: Keep across all the latest from Socceroos camp
BROADCAST: How to watch Australia at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™
PREVIEW: What to expect from Australia v Jordan on Sunday 6 January


“I’m really happy to be here - it was a really nice start to the year for me,” said Giannou after arriving at the Socceroos’ training base at Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

“The first of the year I got the call-up and I’m really happy and looking forward to being back with the boys and giving everything I have to help the team. 

Giannou scores his first international goal for Australia, against Kuwait in October 2018

“Whenever I am needed I am there, and the boss knows that I am just happy he chose me. 

“I know how Arnie wants to play, I know the style of play the team has been playing the last few months, and I’m ready. 

“Everyone’s positive. There’s a good group of players here, we’re just focused on the next game and to be ready for Sunday.”

The Socceroos commence their AFC Asian Cup campaign against Jordan on Sunday, 6 January at 10.00pm (AEDT) and Giannou, who has scored three goals in 12 Europa League games (including qualifiers) for his Cypriot club side AEK Larnaca this season, is relishing the challenge ahead.  

“We know Jordan has strengths, but the main focus has been on us - on how we’re going to play and on making the most of our chances,” he said. 

“I feel good. I’ve been doing well and I’m ready whenever I’m needed to help the team achieve the goals it has set out.”