The first of our Caltex Socceroos have arrived in Antalya, Turkey as preparations officially commence ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
With Bert van Marwijk and his staff getting their first training session under their belt, some big names included in the 26-man extended squad are still yet to arrive as they finish up their club commitments.
Here’s a wrap of Day 1 in Caltex Socceroos training camp and stay tuned to socceroos.com.au as we keep you up to date with all the best bits ahead of Russia 2018 …
A total of 19 players have arrived in Antalya, while Josh Risdon, Mat Ryan, Matthew Jurman, Milos Degenek, Tom Rogic, and Mile Jedinak will make their way into camp shortly.
While Rogic helped Celtic lift the Scottish FA Cup over the weekend, skipper Mile Jedinak is another who can still help his club to glory when he will contest the Championship play-off final for Aston Villa next Sunday AEST.
Jedinak will be the final player to arrive into camp, with Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy flying out from England overnight to join up with his teammates on Monday Eastern European Time.
This meant there was a lively contingent of players on hand for van Marwijk’s first session in camp, with the players also enjoying a gym session in the morning in between breakfast and lunch to help prepare them for the challenges ahead.
After lining up for Bursaspor over the weekend, Aziz Behich trained alongside the contingent Championship-based players, while Joshua Brillante, James Troisi, Daniel Arzani, Andrew Nabbout, Nikita Rukavytsya and Brad Jones also took part.
With players plying their trade all around the world and coming into camp with varying levels of fitness and fatigue, it’s been a big mission of Caltex Socceroos Head of Sports Science Dr Craig Duncan to ensure everyone is ready to hit the ground running in Turkey.
“Over the previous three months we have worked on a strategy focused on making sure players come into camp in a physiological condition [that will] meet the requirements of the training schedule,” Duncan explained to socceroos.com.au.
“Our experience with managing travel is extensive and most players have been based in Europe so flight times and time zone changes are not disruptive to the wellbeing of the player.”
Despite the easier flying schedule for European-based players, there are still strategies put in place to ensure players based further away can minimise the effects of flying.
This includes the use of cutting edge technology, a first in world football.
Duncan added: “For those travelling from Australia and Asia we prepare and implement a travel strategy to ensure they are ready to train when required.
“We also use technology that monitors the players physiological status on a minute-by-minute basis.
“This technology [is one] that we are the first to use internationally and gives us data that enhances our ability to predict a player’s readiness to train.”
While Caltex Socceroos staff arrived in the Antalya base on Wednesday (Eastern European Time), the first players themselves made their way into camp on Saturday EET.
Youngster Daniel Arzani was one of those first to arrive, and the youngster admitted it was a dream to experience his first moments of Caltex Socceroos camp.
“Since I was young I have always dreamed of playing for Australia, playing for the Socceroos, and to think that that could be happening in the next couple of weeks is amazing,” said Arzani.
“I’m really excited to be in and happy that they boys have been welcoming so far.”
Arzani added: “It hasn’t hit me yet but that overwhelming excitement will probably come in the next few days.
“Coming into camp it was a bit frightening at first because I don’t actually know anyone, but knowing that I’ve got Timmy to help me and he’s a good friend of mine is very helpful.”