'The speculation kept coming': How a World Cup Qualifier led to Boyle's Saudi move

Martin Boyle has been impressive so far in his 14 games for Australia. 

After first making his international debut with the Socceroos back in 2018, Martin Boyle has since undergone a major move overseas to Saudi Arabia and impressed so far in his stint in the Middle East.

Before making the leap over to Saudi Arabia, he was plying his trade in Scotland for Hibernian FC a team he appeared for more than 240 times and netting 60 goals for the famous Scottish club. 

Firstly, let's rewind to November of 2021 when Boyle was voted Socceroos' Player Of The Match and after his impressive performance during Australia's 0-0 stalemate with Saudi Arabia in Sydney. All of a sudden, within weeks, Saudi Arabian clubs came calling for the 28-year-old's signature. 

Speaking on the Socceroos Podcast, Boyle discussed the move overseas, how he spoke to a few Socceroos before making the move and how the move will help him when Australia faces off against Saudi Arabia in a crucial clash later this month. 

"I think it was after that camp, the interest started to happen as I was playing all my games for Hibs," he said. 

"Things were going quite well and I was doing well for the Socceroos which was great."

As always, you can listen to the Socceroos Podcast in the player below or via SpotifyApple Podcasts & Google Play

Leading up to the January transfer window of 2022, all the talk was if Boyle would leave his native land of Scotland for Saudi Arabia.

Eventually, the Socceroo made the move late in the transfer window, heading straight to his new home off the back of Australia's January / February FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

"Obviously, the speculation kept coming and it wasn't going away," he explained. 

"They put in the bid in January and there were a lot of big bids that came along with that, from where I've come from, you know, it was a lot of money." 

Martin Boyle
Martin Boyle celebrates scoring for the Socceroos

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Boyle opened up on just how important the upcoming qualifier at home on March 24th will be against Japan, and how big of an impact the fans could make in pushing Australia ever closer to World Cup Qualification. 

"Most importantly, we've got the home game, it's just fantastic," he told. 

"There's no better feeling. Obviously, the COVID situation is kind of passed at the moment. So we've got fans back, and I'm sure everyone will be ready and follow us.

Still focusing on defeating Saudi Arabia and Japan in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, the Scottish-born Socceroo gave an insight on how he adjusted from the cooler Scotland to the warm and humid environment of Saudi Arabia. 

"It's been great. Obviously, it's been a massive change for myself," he added. 

"I left for the last international camp and I haven't returned, so that was quite a change. 

The weather is a massive change and probably imagine you know, back in Scotland, we trained in the mornings - here we train late at night." 

Martin Boyle in action for his Saudi Arabian club, Al-Faisaly

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Despite not being born in Australia, Boyle has instantly connected with his fellow teammates such as Aziz Behich, Mathew Leckie and Callum Elder.

But he also keeps a keen eye out for the fresh talent who work their way into the national team picture. 

"I like to see new faces, which is good. Obviously, you have ceremonies when they get the caps and it's always a proud moment because I was once in that position," the 28-year-old said. 

"I've never been prouder. It's great to see the hard work that they're putting in for the clubs. 

While being considered an older player within the setup at Australia, the 28-year-old has been happy to see young players such as Joel King, Marco Tilio and Connor Metcalfe be rewarded with Socceroo's call-ups after impressive performances for their respective clubs. 

"When Marco came on, he was unlucky not to get his goal," he concluded. 

"You know, the younger generation is coming through, they're fantastic they're feeling confident and it's brilliant, so long may it continue."

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