Jones excited to ‘show more’ of attacking escapades following Bahrain debut

Newly minted Subway Socceroo Gethin Jones reflects on the faith put in him by coach Graham Arnold, with his strong club form rewarded with an immediate starting berth.

READ MORE: “It’s the perfect fixture to have before the Asian Cup”: Arnold’s Men Secure Victory in Our Final Game Before the Asian Cup

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Four days after joining his first national team camp in Abu Dhabi, the Bolton Wanderers full-back was entrusted with a starting spot in what was seen as the last audition before Australia kicks off their Asian Cup campaign in six days’ time, against India.

For Jones, the last week has been a whirlwind, with the defender thankful for his teammates and staff for helping his seamless transition into the green and gold.

READ MORE: Jones hoping to bring leadership qualities to Socceroos squad

“I've known Arnie [Graham Arnold] and Reńe [Meulensteen] have been coming to the games at Bolton for quite a few months now,” he told FA Media during the week.

When I first had the chat with Arnie a couple of months back, he did tell me that there was a good chance of me going to the Asian Cup. He said that we wanted to win it.

“I'm not going to lie, it is nerve wracking walking into a room with so many fresh faces, I only knew Harry Souttar before, but I've settled in really well.”

Coach Graham Arnold had made no secret of Gethin’s inclusion within his Bahrain starting XI, with the trust and transparency of his coach, further motivating Jones, to repay the faith of his manager.

“He told me on Thursday, it was good to know straight away, and know he's put his faith in me, to put me in straight away. So I’m hoping I can do the same on the pitch for Arnie and the team,” the defender said post-match.

“It was good to be out there and get my debut. It's been a few days, now training with the lads, but obviously, games are completely different.”

The 28-year-old displayed his attacking prowess, with regular darts upfield along his trusted right flank, a sight which League One fans have become accustomed to.

Against the low-block defence of Bahrain, it was a similar run in the 61st minute which drew in three opposition defenders, allowing Jones to play in team-mate Aiden O’Neill, who then set up Australia’s second goal of the night.

What we do here is exactly the same as Bolton - attacking football.

“Arnold told me that when the ball is on the left side and the space on the right in front of me, I need to just make those runs, and I'll get the space.”

"When I get in the wide areas, I try and get as many crosses into the box while obviously doing my defensive duties as well.”

Heading into a first AFC Asian Cup campaign, the defender is aware that himself and his team will need to build on last night’s performance but remains confident in the squad and environment which has been assembled, to take on the continent’s best.

“I need to do a bit more. I didn't show all of it tonight, but now to make up for what I've done,”

“There's competition for places everywhere. We all need to be at it every single day in training and put performances in the games and whoever plays the best will get their opportunity,”

“I believe that the squad is good enough to go all the way.”


Australia v India
Saturday, 13 January 2024
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Kick-off: 2:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Syria v Australia
Thursday, 18 January 2024
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: 2:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Australia v Uzbekistan
Tuesday, 23 January 2024
Al Janoub Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: 2:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Match will be Live on Paramount+.