Young guns join Aussie squad
The Socceroos have commenced preparations for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup with the majority of the squad arriving in Singapore and Head Coach Graham Arnold has boosted the depth of the team by adding Bruce Djite, Nathan Burns and Mark Bridge for training purposes.
The Socceroos have commenced preparations for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup with the majority of the squad arriving in Singapore and Head Coach Graham Arnold has boosted the depth of the team by adding Bruce Djite (pictured), Nathan Burns and Mark Bridge for training purposes.
The trio, all members of the Qantas under 23s squad that are currently in the process of seeking qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games, will return home after the team moves from Singapore to Bangkok ahead of the start of the AFC Asian Cup. "The opportunity for these young players to mix and train with our best players is a unique experience that will continue to assist with their development," said Mr Arnold.
"It is important for Australian football that we continue to expose our young players to the environment of the national team and the knowledge they will pick up will be a huge benefit to them."
"With the Olympic qualifying program moving into the final stage soon the experience these players and Mark Milligan will get will help them enormously when they face the huge challenge awaiting them to get to Beijing."
Prior to last year's World Cup several young players were involved in training with the Australian squad in Melbourne, Holland and Germany and those players have proved to be crucial in getting Australia into the final round of qualifying for next year's Olympics.
Adelaide United team mates Burns and Djite are enjoying their first experience with the national team while Bridge spent the week with the team ahead of this month's international against Uruguay.
"I'm really enjoying the experience. A lot of these players I admired as I was growing up and now to be training and talking to them is a terrific opportunity and learning experience for me and the other young boys," said Djite.
The Qantas under 23s will play home-and-away matches in the second half of the year against Iraq, DPR Korea and Lebanon and will need to top the group to qualify for the Olympics.