Olyroos coach Graham Arnold. (Picture: @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)

Socceroos coach, Graham Arnold believes the uncapped trio of Joel King, Marco Tillio and Kye Rowles are ready for the biggest stage, as Australia prepare for a crucial round of World Cup qualifiers.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold believes the uncapped trio of Joel King, Marco Tilio, and Kye Rowles are ready for the biggest stage, as Australia prepares for a crucial round of World Cup qualifiers.

Arnold today confirmed his squad for the games against Vietnam and Oman as the Socceroos enter ‘must-win’ territory as their qualifying campaign resumes in Melbourne on the 27th of January.

Amongst the new names, there were a few notable omissions including Awer Mabil, Arnold noted that he hasn’t played since the last qualifier against China and has been sorting his club future with Danish side FC Midtjylland.

“I believe we have a balanced roster, and one which offers tactical and positional flexibility and depth, there were some omissions that were extremely difficult to make this window, however as always we have sought out to select the strongest possible squad to take on the challenges ahead of us in this group,” Arnold said.

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Arnold is happy with the balance in his squad and is hopeful that the veterans of the team will help the inexperienced players develop throughout this window of games.

“I’ve got a lot of belief and faith in those kids, that’s why I did the Olympic team, to develop this squad more because as I said in 2018 when I went and watched the Socceroos in Russia, I knew that day that Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan were not gonna make 2022,” he said.

“I needed to create depth, again that’s why I did the Olympic team and those three players I’ve had with the Olympic team, I know they can do great things, it’s more about consistency and I’ve seen that this year with them”

“Marco [Tilio] gives you a complete ‘x-factor’ either if he starts or comes off the bench, he’s one of those players that Australia doesn’t have enough of, [someone] that can change a game with one action, so it’s exciting to bring these young boys in”.


Arnold noted that having “positive reactions” between the younger and more experienced players will be crucial in helping them grow.

Amongst the deep pool of midfield players selected was Riley McGree – who recently signed for EFL Championship side Middlesbrough.

Arnold admitted he was disappointed to see McGree not link up with fellow Aussie coach, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic in Scotland.

“After he signed with Middlesbrough, I had a conversation with himself and his manager Chris Wilder,” he said.

“Riley’s made the decisions he’s made for himself, obviously it would have been great to see him at Celtic with Ange, but Riley has chosen this other journey which is always the individual’s choice,”.

“After speaking to Chris Wilder, he’s very impressed with Riley in the first week he’s been at the club… it just shows you what an Olympic campaign can do for all these kids, and Riley’s showing that way”.

Without a win in their last three qualifiers, the Socceroos are now faced with the serious outcome of not qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

They currently sit in third-place behind, Saudi Arabia and Japan, the Socceroos are only one point off the Samurai Blue, however, given their form recently, it will be an uphill battle to overcome the two powerhouses of Asian Football, en route to Qatar.

“It is my expectation from every camp we play two games, it’s six points, that’s the idea and the meaning of coming in… we’ve gone through a year of a pandemic where we played 14 world cup qualifiers so far with 12 away from and we’ve won 11,” Arnold said.

“We have everything in our own hands, as I will say to the boys when they turn up here, that’s all in the past, that’s last year, we are here today and we have everything in our own hands, we have four games that we have to play… I expect us to win four games”.

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