19/04/2024

Ryan McGowan playing for the Socceroos against Kuwait. (Image: @rmcgowan89/Twitter)

The Socceroos are a team bonding off the field and the results are showing on it.

Socceroos defender Ryan McGowan has spoken of the atmosphere in camp and the bond between Australian players that coach Graham Arnold has described as “his kids.”

Quizzes, songs by debutants and a 3-0 win all point to a Socceroos squad in form and enjoying their time in the team.

COVID safeguards have not hampered Socceroo’s opportunity to bond. Per tradition, players joining the squad for the first time have to sing a song in front of their new teammates.

Unfortunately McGowan missed the initiation of the new caps while travelling to camp.

“We know everybody, everybody gets along with each other. We have daily quizzes after lunch at your little table and you can see the ones who paid attention in school and the ones that maybe left a little bit early,” McGowan said with a grin.

“Maty Ryan’s not brought anything to the table but I think we’re sitting top at the moment, so we’ve started off well.

“That’s exactly the type of environment Arnie wants to create.”

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The Sydney FC defender was told late that he would be in the starting lineup against Kuwait. He partnered Milos Degenek in the center of defence for the first time and completed the full 90 minutes. Usual starter Trent Sainsbury had pulled up sore at training and missed the opening match.

They made up a new look back four that included Aziz Beich and debutant Fran Karacic out wide.

“It was the night before,” recalled McGowan.

“He (Arnold) pulled me aside and said I’m in.

“It’s a massive opportunity to play for your country at any point, I was more than ready.”

Although the team had limited opportunities to train together, the side looked very much in sync. The three goals were just reward for a dominant performance that pleased the coach.

“I think this team can shock the world,” Arnold said post-match.

“we’ve got talent just needs to be given an opportunity…that’s why I did the Olympic team because I wanted to build not just a pool of 23-24 for the Socceroos but 40 (players).

“The fact that the messaging is the same and the style is the same its everything that makes everybody feel more comfortable.”

That depth will come in handy over the next 10 days. Arnold has said previously that he intends to use every player at his disposal in this qualifying round.

Whoever the 11 are that run out against Chinese Taipei, they are part of one big Socceroos family that Arnold has faith in.

“It’s all about belief and when you believe strongly in something, then you can create miracles.”

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