Kenny Dougall caps off whirlwind week with Socceroos debut
Just four days on from becoming the first Socceroo to score in a club game at Wembley, Kenny Dougall has capped off a whirlwind week by earning his first international cap.
It was an eventful week for Dougall, who sent Blackpool back to the Championship for the first time since 2015 with two goals against Lincoln in the League One Play-Off final.
The two goals and man of the match award saw him rise as an unlikely hero for the Seasiders, who came from behind to clinch victory.
However, the 28-year-old couldn’t celebrate for too long, as he immediately jetted off to Kuwait on Monday to link up with the Socceroos.
And just four days later, Dougall became Socceroos cap #608 after he was introduced in the 65th minute of Australia’s 3-0 win over Kuwait in FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
The debut capped off a remarkable rise for a player who had previously been forced to train by himself after being released by Barnsley in June last year.
"(It was a) great week for me personally," explained Dougall.
"Obviously completely different scenarios but to get an international cap is special and I’ll treasure this moment.’’
The debut also meant that Dougall became only the second-ever Blackpool player to represent Australia after David Carney.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was well aware of how special the moment would be for the former Brisbane Roar man.
"I really wanted to cap him today to really top off a fantastic week for him personally and it’s a week that he will never forget," said Arnold.
While Dougall had previously represented Australia at U23 level, this was the first time he had been successful in earning a cap after previously being called up to three Socceroos camps.
And the defensive midfielder was full of praise for the environment that Arnold has created within the national team setup.
"From day one, he has shown belief in the players and the way we play so we just have to believe in ourselves which is what we do," Dougall said.
"I’ve been in a few camps now so I’ve gotten to know a few boys and every time it is special coming in and seeing all the faces.
"This time was no different and I’m delighted to get onto the pitch."
After an 18-month hiatus, the Socceroos have a packed schedule coming up. Dougall will be hoping to add further caps as Australia take on Chinese Taipei, Nepal and Jordan in the coming ten days.