The green-and-gold boss made the surprising call after the selection of players for the upcoming matches
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Graham Arnold believes his Socceroos team will be the greatest of all time in a huge statement following the squad announcement for the beginning of World Cup qualifiers.
The Australian coach named a 23-man list for the September 11 away match against Kuwait on Friday, and spoke of the mentality he wants to instill in the players ahead of the journey to Qatar 2022.
Speaking to media following the announcement, Arnold feels that this current crop of players under his tutelage will be considered the best in Australia’s history by the end of the World Cup cycle.
“Every time I’ve coached and every time I have played, my mindset is always going on the field expecting to win the game, and nothing changes,” Arnold said.
“Things can happen in games but you send the players out in a great mindset and going out and expecting to win the game. I don’t send players out trying not to lose. There’s a big difference between the two.
“We have a great environment, the team morale is great. It’s a new journey for a lot of players. For the more experienced players it’s a journey they have been on and that will help those younger players.
“It’s an exciting squad, a mixture of experience and youth but it’s all about giving people the opportunity to take the Socceroos to another level.
“In my mindset, I believe that at the end of this we’ll be the greatest Socceroos team ever.”
Arnold is in his second stint as Socceroos boss, having achieved a quarter-final finish with the nation at the 2007 Asian Cup – the same result reached at the 2019 edition in the UAE.
With the green and gold struggling to make the most of the possession at the tournament, Arnold explained how he will improve the players to create more chances and be deadly in front of goal.
“Whether we play with three nines, very narrow, or two wingers high and wide, and two eights, or with two sixes, it’s all about the quality in the final third,” Arnold said.
“We’ve shown in the past since I’ve been in charge we’ve dominated and created every game. I got an independent review of our performances that I will show the players this week that will show we’ve dictated every game in terms of possession, shots, final third entries and it’s just about being ruthless and using that individual quality.
“We have players that can make a difference and that’s a big thing. When you are playing against packed defences and you don’t have that individual quality of a one-v-one action that can go past players, it makes it tough.
“But we have that now and I have a lot of belief in these boys and the front third of the pitch is something we’ll work hard on this camp.
“We’ve worked hard in the previous camps on our defensive structure, how to press and how to build up, but this camp we will work a lot on our combination play and attacking play and I look forward to that.”
Injury issues have already struck the Socceroos squad less than 24 hours after its announcement, with Adam Taggart and Mitch Langerak both emerging as doubts for the Kuwait contest.
Australia’s first home qualifier will come against Nepal in Canberra on October 10 – before meeting their other two group opponents Jordan and Chinese Taipei.