'It's a little different': Grant commits to two months on the road with the Socceroos

As the only A-League player selected for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against China and Vietnam, Rhyan Grant has explained why he has chosen to leave Australia for up to two months.

The Sydney FC right-back is the only A-League player selected in Graham Arnold's 27-man squad for FIFA World Cup qualifiers against China and Vietnam.

Aus v China

Grant accepted the call-up with a commitment that he will remain outside of Australia for the next month to be ready for the next round of qualifiers in October.

The 30-year-old praised Sydney FC for allowing him to leave their preseason schedule to represent the Green and Gold.

“It’s always nice to be selected again and to be a part of such a great culture,” Grant explained. 

“Thankfully Sydney were very good with it which made it very easy. Both sets of coaching staff spoke to each other to lay out a little plan which is great for me considering I get to play in these national team games.

“It’s huge that Sydney FC are onboard with the situation. There obviously could have been a little bit of drama because they could have made it hard for me, but from word go they were more than happy to support my decision.

“It makes it a little bit easier that it is preseason because there are not as many games lined up but obviously, I’m in good hands here and I will be looked after well.”

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With limited defensive options available for Arnold, Grant has the perfect opportunity to add to his 13 international caps.

While Grant is excited to reunite with his Socceroos teammates, he sympathises with the A-League players who could not join him and hopes he can represent them well.

Rhyan Grant and Chris Ikonomidis fight for the ball during Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final
Grant understands why A-League players are missing

“Everyone's circumstances are a little bit different. I'm quite lucky because I don't have many responsibilities back home, so I saw this as an opportunity to put my hand up again and be part of it,” Grant said.

It's always nice to be in the national team so I wasn't going to turn that down.

“Obviously, there are difficult circumstances for some of the boys because it's such a big commitment. To be the only A-League player is a little bit different but hopefully, I can represent the A-League well.”

Grant, who was involved in the June qualifiers, is eager to pick up exactly where they left off in qualifying.

A flawless second round of qualifying, which saw Australia register eight wins from eight matches, will be hard to beat but Grant believes the squad's unity will hold them in good stead.

Rhyan Grant and Milos Degenek
Rhyan Grant is ready to extend unbeaten run

“All the boys say the same thing as soon as they get into camp, it’s like we never left,” he explained.

We did so well to create history and get eight from eight but the goal for us is to win every game.

“We approach it one game at a time which is very cliche but that's how we're looking at it.

“I’m sure all the boys will be up for it and Arnie will have us up for it. We are looking forward to playing some international footy again.”

The Socceroos face China PR on Friday, 3 September, with kick-off at 4am (AEST). Australia's second World Cup qualifier against Vietnam in Hanoi will be played on Tuesday, 7 September.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)

Australia v China PR

Date: Thursday, 2 September 2021

Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Kick-off: 9pm local (4am AEST – Friday, 3 September 2021)

Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on Network 10 – pre-game coverage from 3.30am AEST