Graham Arnold and his Australia’s U-23 Men’s are fit and firing ahead of their showdown with the A-League champions on Thursday night.
A new look Olyroos side has been taking shape under Arnold over the course of the week as the young Aussies prepare for their first outing in almost 11 months when they take to the pitch against the Sky Blues on Thursday.
The array of talent at Arnold’s disposal has created quite a positive atmosphere in the training camp which he believes will benefit his side as they gear up for a jampacked 2021.
“I think we are going to be better prepared for this postponed Olympics, more than what we probably would have been if the Olympics had gone ahead,” Arnold said.
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“We seem to have more depth, more players coming through. We’ve obviously got players overseas who can’t be here at the moment but I’ve got some good young players over here that I get a chance to look at.
Arnold added: “To be able to work with them for a week and play two games with the blessing of the clubs during preseason is a great opportunity.”
According to the Olyroos’ coach, the pandemic may have proved to work to his side’s advantage.
“The COVID pandemic saw a lot more kids get a chance in the A-League and also at the end of COVID, a lot of players went back and played in NPL,” he said.
“So they’ve come here in really good mental shape as well as physical and they’ve got a lot of energy and they’re excited to be here.”
The next couple of months will be telling for the players, with only a limited amount of time available for the young Aussies to push for a spot in the Olympic squad.
“It’s about these boys taking their opportunities to impress before the Olympics as a group. Individually, they can at their clubs but as a group this is our fourth last opportunity to get together during those FIFA windows to be prepared before we go to the Olympics.”
Arnold will get a chance to gage the fitness of his players when they return to the pitch tomorrow night however certain adjustments will be made given that the boys are in the thick of preseason.
“You will see unlimited substitutions but in three windows to keep the momentum of the game going,” he said.
“We don’t want to put our players at any type of risk. After the game on Thursday six of the players leave straight away to go to the Champions League, so those type of players I’ll be using more tomorrow night.”
Arnold firmly believes that their proactiveness which has seen them tee up this training camp and potentially more in the future will give them an advantage ahead of the Olympics next year.
“You look at other Olympic teams, they’re not doing anything so we’re getting on the front foot, we’re more prepared than the other Olympic teams are,” he added.
“With the great preparation given to us by the FFA but also the AoC (Australian Olympic Committee). Once the month of June comes it will be basically a club team, we’ll be in camp, we’ll be training and getting ready for the start of the Olympics where we’ll go and fulfill our dreams.”
Australia U-23 Men’s National Team – Upcoming Fixture
Australia U-23 Men’s National Football Team v Sydney FC
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah, New South Wales
Date: Thursday, 12 November 2020
Kick-off: 7:00pm AEDT
Tickets: GET YOUR TICKETS HERE (limited number of tickets due to COVID-19 protocols available online only)
Note: Tickets won’t be sold at the gate and needs to be pre-purchased via Ticketek. Tickets will be available to purchase until half-time.
Broadcast: Live via Facebook (Socceroos, Sydney FC, A-League), Kayo Sports, My Football Live App, My Football YouTube