Andrew Nabbout was dropped from the Socceroos squad when Australia took on China in November, but the 29-year-old is looking to regain his spot within Graham Arnold’s plans.
He has only started six times for Australia over 14 matches since being first called up for the 23-man World Cup squad in 2018 following his impressive form with the Newcastle Jets, where he scored 10 goals in 23 games.
Nabbout has started this season strong with Melbourne City, with the powerful winger scoring two goals in five games in the A-League Men for the defending champions. He told media on Friday that he is still looking to work his way onto the radar of the Socceroos’ head coach.
“That’s the mentality I’ve always held, Arnie will make decisions based on what he sees and thinks at any given moment,” Nabbout said.
“All I can do is go out there do what I do, enjoy playing because I feel like that is when I play my best… when I have a smile on my face, I can put my hand-up. I have to work as hard as I can, and when called upon I am always ready.”
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Despite only playing a limited amount of time against Wellington Phoenix during the week, Nabbout insisted that no injury was the reason he was substituted.
He added that watching his team fall out of the cup was “difficult” from the sidelines.
“I told Patty [coach Patrick Kisnorbo] I felt great, I wanted to stay on, but it’s his decision, there is a risk of keeping players for too long and the medical staff and coaching staff know what’s best,” Nabbout said.
“But as a player, I always want to stay on no matter how I am feeling.
“It’s frustrating knowing that I can’t help and be out there with the boys, but all I can do is support and show my support. It’s almost as if you are injured standing there watching, and it’s not fun watching your teammates going down in such a disappointing way.
“I felt like we should have notched a goal or two, we dominated the game, but that is what happens in Cup games if you don’t score.”
COVID-19 has caused chaos amongst the teams this season, and especially so within Melbourne City, which has had games postponed and consistently rescheduled after an outbreak within the club. Despite this, Nabbout lauded that his City side is ready for any challenges they may face.
“For me, I am focused just on myself, so I just look forward to the opponent we play,” he said.
“It’s just an opponent I have to try and exploit, so for me it’s just worrying about my game. I have got three days to prepare for the game and we are just focused on ourselves and how we can play at our best to beat Western Sydney.
“It does take its toll on you definitely, you know being out for 10 days.
“Our last game was on the 18th [of last year], so to have your first game back on the 5th, that’s just a bit over two weeks. We worked hard to gain match fitness in the first five or six rounds and then you lose a bit of it.
“Thankfully we didn’t miss any games and the Cup game was a good chance to get a runout and get into good condition going into the weekend.”
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