“He thoroughly deserves his selection” – Daniel Arzani continues national team comeback

Daniel Arzani’s 2021 renaissance has continued after being named in Graham Arnold’s 27-player squad for coming World Cup Qualifiers against China and Vietnam — putting him in line for a first senior international cap since 2018.

Fresh off debuting with new side Lommel SK, Arzani will fly into Doha in the next 48 hours, where he will undergo routine COVID checks before joining preperations for a clash with coach Li Tie’s China next Friday.

“He’s in a great mindset at the moment, which I expect to continue,” Socceroos coach Arnold said. “He thoroughly deserves his selection. As you’ve seen before, Daniel is a player that can be a gamechanger at any time. I look forward to seeing him again.”

See Also: Socceroos call on their Foreign Legion as Mooy, Rogic, Wright, and Arzani all return for World Cup qualifers

One of Australia’s most naturally talented prospects, 22-year-old Arzani burst onto the scene as a teenager with Melbourne City during the 2017-18 A-League season; his blistering run of form forcing him into Bert van Marwijk’s Socceroos squad for the 2018 World Cup. 

In Russia, the Khorramabad-born attacker came off the bench in all three of Australia’s group stage games and did enough to induce the City Football Group to sign him from Melbourne to Manchester City and subsequently loan him to Celtic. 

See Also: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou’s first 10 games: Highs, lows and lots of goals as ‘Angeball’ takes shape

But his only involvement with the Socceroos since was an Antalya training camp soon after Arnold ascended to the role of national-team boss: a torn ACL in his debut with the Hoops kickstarting a horror run of injury and fitness concerns that threatened to derail his career. 

One of Australia’s most polarising talents — in large part due to the hype that accompanied his emergence — concerns around Arzani’s inability to find fitness and consistently run out 90 minutes of football dogged him in the following years — threatening to overshadow the undeniable skill and boldness in approach that made him the youngest player at Russia 2018. 

At the conclusion of his time in Scotland, loan moves to FC Utrecht in the Netherlands and AGF in Denmark followed, but little in the way of regular first-team football eventuated. 

But in June, impressed enough with his performance at a Marbella training camp and declaring that he wanted to “help resurrect his career, put him on the world stage and move the kid forward,” Arnold threw Arzani a lifeline in calling him into his Olyroos squad for the 2020 Tokyo Games.  

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The coach was rewarded as flashes of Arzani’s latent game-breaking potential were put on show as he became one of the Olyroos standouts — particularly when able to link up with Marco Tilio against Egypt — but the rust from just a combined 679 minutes of club football since the 2018 World Cup was also apparent. 

The urgent need to get more minutes under his belt made clear– and drilled into him by national team staff — Arzani moved to Belgian second-tier and CFG-owned Lommel SK earlier this month; starting and playing 77 minutes in his official debut for the club last week. 

And with Arnold forced to turn to a foreign brigade for coming World Cup qualification fixtures against China and Vietnam, the attacker will get another chance to impress national team staff across the coming international window.

“I was very happy with Daniel at the Olympics,” Arnold said. “He’s had some tough times.

“People deal with issues in different ways and Daniel, obviously after the World Cup he went to Celtic, copping an ACL injury that put him out for a long time. And then it’s about rebuilding the confidence and the belief in his body and his mindset. 

See Also: Australia’s World Cup qualifiers will test Socceroos’ squad depth

“Again, I was very happy with what Daniel did at the Olympics, he played more minutes at the Olympics than in two years at club football. It shows you how much match rhythm he had lost.

“But again, with the different strategy that I’m trying to do here to get everyone together with predominantly overseas boys Daniel ticks a box. He’s at Lommel, he played 73 minutes on the weekend, the club is really happy with him.”

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Header Image Credit: Football Australia

2 thoughts on ““He thoroughly deserves his selection” – Daniel Arzani continues national team comeback

  1. Pingback: Socceroos forced into balancing act for coming World Cup qualifers – JDL MEDIA

  2. Pingback: After Toulouse move, Genreau keen to kick on with Socceroos – JDL MEDIA

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