'Pace and ability': Meulensteen excited by new artillery in Caltex Socceroos setup
He helped make Cristiano Ronaldo a superstar and now ex-Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen likes what he sees from Australia's emerging crop of attackers.
The former Fulham manager and United youth guru worked with the Caltex Socceroos for the first time this month after being installed as Graham Arnold's assistant coach in August.
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Graham Arnold's first training camp in Turkey allowed Meulensteen, 54, to begin evaluating the talent at his and Arnold's disposal.
Awer Mabil and John Iredale joined fellow youngster Daniel Arzani in Antalya and appear to have made the right impression with opportunities potentially about to open up ahead of next year's AFC Asian Cup.
"It's exciting for us as staff and exciting for the players as well," Meulensteen told socceroos.com.au.
"Obviously there are some experienced players that have been in the national team setup for quite a while now, but we brought in also some new faces, some fresh faces.
"It's something we want to pursue in the not-too-distant future.
"I think we have some really good, exciting players now in the front line. Young players that bring a lot of pace and ability in 1v1s.
"These are the sort of players we want to add to what this Australian team already have."
Meulensteen, who admitted Arnold’s approach to join him came "a little bit out of the blue", said it was a straightforward decision to pursue his long-held interest in experiencing Australian football.
The 54-year-old is encouraged by his earliest exposure to the best the nation has to offer.
"It's a bright group. A group that is very disciplined, very committed, very willing to sacrifice and work hard," he said.
"What impressed me was the ability to pick up information from us fairly quickly.
"We gave a lot of information, whether that be on principles of play we would like to implement in the game or tactical aspects of the game we like to see.
"I think that was very, very good."
Arnold and the backroom staff are now preparing for an October trip to Kuwait along with dual home friendlies against Korea Republic and Lebanon the following month.
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They will also work with the Olyroos for what Meulensteen views as a possible route to fast-tracking players into the senior setup.
"I would like to see what players we might consider for the next camp and for that project as well," the Dutchman said.
"There are plenty of things to do, for sure, and I think time will pass very quickly before we are in the next camp in October."
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