“Backyard football” is the phrase on Graham Arnold’s tongue as he prepares his team for their first World Cup qualifier of the new cycle at AAMI Park Thursday night.
Expecting to have a lot of the ball and being tasked with breaking down a low block from the 183rd-ranked team in the world, Arnold said he wants to see his players be creative and positive going forward.
“There’s going to be plenty of times where we get in one-on-one positions … and I want to see them go for it and be positive, and get men in the box to score goals,” Arnold told media on Wednesday.
“Backyard football is: come on, show the tricks, show the backheels, the flicks and imagination … It’s down to the individual skill.”
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The theme of “backyard football” was consistent, as those were the words persistently shouted by Arnold as the Socceroos began their final training session before the game against Bangladesh.
The only absentee from training was winger Martin Boyle, who picked up a knock in the Scottish League Cup 10 days ago for club side Hibernian.
After consultation with Hibs medical staff, the Socceroos team decided Boyle would not travel to Australia, in a cautionary move against the adverse effects of extended travel.
Instead, Boyle will link up with the team in Kuwait, where Arnold expects him to be available for the fixture against Palestine.