‘An unreal debut’: Rhyan Grant welcomes fellow right-back into the fold
In the midst of a packed qualifying schedule coming up, Socceroos right-back Rhyan Grant has welcomed the competition Fran Karacic has provided within the national team setup.
Karacic, who plays for Serie B club Brescia, was outstanding on his international debut as the Socceroos cruised to a 3-0 win over Kuwait in FIFA World Cup qualifying last week.
After waiting three years to become Socceroo #607, the Croatia-born right-back drew plaudits from many for his confidence on the ball, penetrating runs and quality crossing.
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While Karacic looms as ideal competition to ensure Australia’s right side of defence goes from strength to strength, the man he is contesting with for a starting place has praised his inclusion in the squad.
"I think he (Fran Karacic) had an unreal game for his debut," said Grant.
"Having competition for places is huge and I think in the Socceroos squad, this time around, there's a lot of numbers but it just goes to show how much depth there is in Australian football at the moment.
Hopefully everyone gets a chance to show what they can do and really push their name forward and make it hard for Arnie going forward."
In addition to Karacic making his debut and the Socceroos putting three goals past Kuwait in their first match in 567 days, Kenny Dougall and Riley McGree also made their first senior appearances for the national team.
To follow up, Australia's 5-1 win over Chinese Taipei, in which Grant started and played 90 minutes, saw A-League trio Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe and Ruon Tongyik all earn their first caps.
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Grant, who debuted for the Socceroos in 2018 against Lebanon in a friendly, knows exactly how it would have felt to pull on the Green and Gold for the first time.
"It sounds quite cliche, but I think it's everyone's dream as a footballer or even as an athlete to represent your country," he said.
"Arnie says it all the time, there's not that many people that have done it at all, or had the honour to do it. To be part of that 600 odd people to play for the Socceroos is huge. Over a 100 year history as well.
"To me personally, it means the world and I'm sure it did for the boys too."
Coming from an Australian winter and arriving late in the camp, Grant recalls how it took a few days to adjust to the humid conditions in Kuwait.
"It's always good to come into camp and be amongst the boys and all the staff," explained Grant.
"With the different weather, I suppose it took a few days but obviously, we have the staff here with Clarky and the rest of them that have everything set up to get us feeling as good as possible, as quickly as can be.
"I’m starting to feel really good and hopefully get to play a bit more of a part in the next few games."
Socceroos’ June Schedule
Australia 3-0 Kuwait
Australia 5-1 Chinese Taipei
Nepal v Australia
Friday, 11 June 2021 (12 June AEST)
Venue: Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium
Kick-off: 7.00pm local, 2.00am AEST (Saturday morning)
Watch on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and My Football Live App.
More on how to watch here.
Australia v Jordan