Soccer

Arnold stayed loyal for ‘the kids’

Graham Arnold was doing it for “the kids” when he rejected a lucrative officer to coach South Korean outfit FC Seoul to remain in charge of the Olyroos and Socceroos.

Revitalised by a nine-day Australian under-23 camp which culminated with a 2-1 win over A-League newcomers Macarthur FC at Jubilee Stadium on Tuesday, Arnold had no doubts he made the right decision to stay loyal to Australian football.

“It was a tough decision to knock it back, I’ll be honest,” Arnold said in reflecting on his decision last month to knock back an approach from FC Seoul.

“(But) my whole purpose here is to help the kids and help the game.

“I always follow my gut, and my gut was telling me not to leave the kids and not to leave the game at this crucial moment in time where we are working hard to make the change, and working hard with the state federations to help change things for good of the kids.

“Obviously I love coaching the Socceroos. I’m as proud as punch to do that but my gut was telling me now is not the right time (to leave) for the kids.”

Kick-starting preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympics after months of inactivity due to COVID-19 restrictions, an Olyroos squad without any overseas-based players met two A-League clubs during the camp, with Tuesday’s win an improved performance on their 3-0 loss to Sydney FC last Thursday night.

An absolute 🚀 from Connor Metcalfe!

What a strike. #AUSvMFC pic.twitter.com/Cg0vnoEf3R

Connor Metcalfe and Ramy Najjarine scored the Olyroos goals against Macarthur after Arnold’s had trailed the Bulls following a goal from Lachlan Rose.

“I couldn’t be happier with the two games. Two great hit outs for us … we gave them good games,” Arnold said.

“I’m extremely proud of the kids. They did extremely well and I just love their attitudes.

“I’ve always been big on culture, mateship and an environment where the player will work for each other and fight for each other.

“The energy levels the boys showed (on Tuesday) was fantastic. We made five or six changes from the other night, gave everyone a go.

“I would love to have this group of players are one team in the A-League and I’d love to go back and coach (them) in the A-League.”

The winning goal from Ramy Najjarine!

But how about the release from Metcalfe and the ball in from Ryan Strain? 👌#AUSvMFC pic.twitter.com/pyZ9p0FEoy

Arnold said the Olyroos would for gather for camps during the A-League season and play more matches in the March international FIFA break.

“They’ve got to get back, work hard at their clubs, do well at their clubs so their coaches pick them every week … and it’ll make the squad depth bigger,” he said.

“But it’s going to be a tough decision at the end of the day when I can bring in three over-age (players) and I can bring in probably 10 players from overseas to fit into an 18-member squad.”

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