Wales believes Australia U-23's are 'building something special'
Lachlan Wales is riding the high of his first goal for Australia.
And the 21-year-old from Terrigal is convinced there are more special things to come out of the Australia U-23 camp.
Wales believes the Olyroos have made huge strides toward their Tokyo 2020 Olympics dream over the past week in camp, and in two 1-1 draws with New Zealand.
There were plenty of positive signs to take from those friendlies in Wollongong and Campbelltown, the latter where the Melbourne City youngster scored his maiden goal in international football.
But in Wales’ mind, perhaps the most encouraging note of all came off the pitch.
"The boys are a really close group,” he told www.socceroos.com.au.
"There are boys hanging out from each different team, there are no cliques like you see at other camps.
"We've worked on a lot of things: different presses, different ways of playing and it's all to take into the qualifiers in January.
"We're building something special.”
Wales was one of Australia’s brightest performers in Monday night’s stalemate with the Kiwis in Campbelltown.
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Not only was he the green and gold’s only goal scorer and most dangerous player, but also a key component of an aggressive pressing game that rattled New Zealand in the first half.
The former Central Coast Mariner gave the Olyroos a perfect start by leading a press from a New Zealand goal kick before pouncing on Kiwi ‘keeper Conor Tracey in his own goal mouth and heading the ball home.
He also saw a first-time chip clip the crossbar and yet again caught Tracey in possession – but this time, his cutback to strike partner Nick D’Agostino was put wide by the Perth Glory forward.
Australia boss van Egmond – sitting in for Graham Arnold – praised his charges for implementing that aspect of the game plan successfully but said the team must improve their decision-making in approach play.
"We've been looking to press a little bit differently and it was good to see that we got some joy from it," van Egmond told www.socceroos.com.au. "Overall, it was good to see.
“There's a lot of work to be done. We just have to get a little bit better in regard to some of our decisions in building up.”
“We created some good chances but if we're going to move forward to the Olympics, we probably need to take those."