Arnold ‘excited’ for Hyundai A-League season, Honda’s arrival

New Caltex Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has explained his huge excitement about the fast approaching Hyundai A-League season, with the arrival of Keisuke Honda the spark of great interest.

Melbourne Victory this week confirmed the signing of Honda — a 98-capped Japanese international and a goalscorer at the past three FIFA World Cups — with Arnold also buoyed by the talk of more marquee arrivals.

READ: Arnold era commences with new Caltex Socceroos staff confirmed

“To see the recruitment, Honda is a fantastic signing and it’s good to hear Greg O’Rourke and the noises that other marquees may come in as well,” Arnold said in his first official press conference as Caltex Socceroos head coach. 

“It’s shaping up to be a very exciting year, There have been some exits but that happens in world football and I expect this to be a great season in the A-League.”

Keisuke Honda

Arnold’s success in the Hyundai A-League — both with the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC — saw him collect two Hyundai A-League Championships, three Premierships and one FFA Cup title.

Now looking at how the teams are shaping up from the outside, Arnold has had the opportunity to travel the country to speak with Hyundai A-League coaches.

And there’s one thing he’s missing about coaching international football versus club football.

“I miss the day to day coaching on the grass and that’s another reason for taking the Olympic team — it gives me an opportunity to coach 40 people a month,” Arnold admitted. 

“I miss that side of it and the A-League is shaping up well. It’s good to be on the outside and I can be friends with all the coaches again which makes it even better!”

The 55-year-old also shared his views on the imminent arrival of Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who will be training with the Mariners for an indefinite period in the bid to earn a professional contract.

Usain Bolt

Bolt, who has also had training stints with German giants Borussia Dortmund, South African club Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Strømsgodset in Norway, is pursing his dream of playing football after retiring from athletics.

“I’ll have a joke first … everyone says I need a goalscorer and Usain hasn't been capped yet by Jamaica,” Arnold joked when asked about his thoughts on Bolt’s announcement. 

“He may be a possibility … that was a joke!”

Arnold added: “I think you have to have faith and trust in the Mariners’ coaching staff. Mike Mulvey isn’t a stupid guy — he’s won a Championship and you have to trust him that he will judge Usain as a footballer and not an athlete. 

“He’ll judge him on whether [Bolt] is better than what he’s got. That’s his decision. For me, it has to be a football decision.”