Arnie believes he’s found the next Craig Goodwin in experiment he ‘probably shouldn’t be doing’

The Socceroos were too good for trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand in London.

Graham Arnold has an unwavering belief in Australian kids and the Socceroos reaffirmed his view on the country’s emerging talent after the ANZAC Soccer Ashes landed in Aussie hands for the first time in 69 years.

The Socceroos closed out the October international window with a 2-0 win over trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand in London on Wednesday (AEDT) following last week’s heart-breaking 1-0 loss to England at Wembley Stadium.

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A-Leagues product Lewis Miller made his first start in the green and gold, while former Perth Glory academy player Alessandro Circati debuted at Gtech Community Stadium – home of Premier League outfit Brentford.

Arnold has spoken previously about the quality of Australian youth and the need to reinvigorate the pathway into the Socceroos and since combining his senior role with the Under-23 national team, we have since seen the likes of Connor Metcalfe, Kye Rowles, Marco Tilio, Jordan Bos, Garang Kuol, Denis Genreau, Cameron Devlin, Nathaniel Atkinson, Keanu Baccus, Thomas Deng and Riley McGree – all A-Leagues graduates – progress to the senior setup.

Adelaide United’s teenage sensation Nestory Irankunda was also called up as a train-on player for the March friendlies against Ecuador, while 19-year-old ex-Reds star Mohamed Toure made his debut against England.

It also comes after the Young Socceroos went unbeaten at the Marbella Week of Football Tournament, where they beat France, the Netherlands and Denmark on penalties, while the Olyroos finished third at June’s prestigious Maurice Revello Tournament.


“I believe so much in Australian kids,” Arnold told reporters post-game. “They have the skill, they have the physicality. they understand tactics.

“It’s in the brain they need to understand they belong.

“When you play in Australia and you’re so far away from Europe and the top leagues, the boys sit and watch them on TV And think, ‘am I really going to make that or am I that good?’

“But when you play against them and you see that you can compete, it just builds that belief for the kids that they belong.”

Bos once again impressed in an Australia shirt as the Socceroos celebrated their seventh consecutive win over the All Whites.

The former Melbourne City full-back was played in an unfamiliar position – left wing – in a role that Craig Goodwin has flourished in.

Labelled a “proper player” by the British journalist quizzing Arnold about the Westerlo talent, the Socceroos boss replied: “He has a hell of a future in front of him.

“Maybe there’s people probably questioning why I played him where I played him because in Australia he was always at full-back and at Westerlo in Belgium he is a left wing-back in a back five.

“Craig Goodwin is 31-32, I wanted to see if Jordy could do the same type of role as Craig Goodwin and he showed he can and he will.

“It’s just that final decision making when he gets into the box… but we haven’t really had time to work on that but we will when we start playing against the Asian nations again.”

Circati produced a performance beyond his years as the 20-year-old Parma defender slotted in at the heart of defence alongside Harry Souttar against New Zealand.

“Giving some of these younger ones a chance because it’s the only way they can go up,” Arnold said with the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup qualifiers set to begin next month before January’s AFC Asian Cup.

“In a lot of ways I probably shouldn’t be doing it because they should be coming through the junior national teams.

“But we’ve lost certain men – already three players through retirement, (Danny) Vukovic, (Aaron) Mooy and (Tom) Rogic and I do expect more to come. Maybe within the next six months or a year.

“But the way I plan anyway is I have to plan well in advance so we have that covered.”

After Alexander Robertson pledged his international allegiance to Australia in March, Circati – who has represented Italy at youth level – has followed suit, albeit in friendlies also.

Arnold is “communicating all the time” with Sydney-born Sassuolo forward Cristian Volpato, who remains solely focused on his club football after turning down the chance to play for Australia at the 2022 World Cup.

Toure – on loan at Ligue 2 side Paris FC from Stade de Reims – is also in the same boat as he is eligible to represent Guinea and he still is, despite his late friendly cameo against England at Wembley.

“With Mo, he was getting chased by Guinea to play for them. It really hasn’t’ changed but I wanted to bring him in and for him experience that emblem on his heart and ask him how that felt,” Arnold said.

“That’s the biggest decision for the players with double passports – where they feel the passion is. It’s not my decision at the end of the day, it’s theirs. I would never try to tie someone down.

“Circati was exactly the same. I spoke to him on numerous occasions but it was his decision. That’s why I bought him into camp and why I didn’t play him early. His gut had to tell him it was the right decision.”

The next time the Socceroos play will be on November 16, when they return to Australian shores via Melbourne to kick-off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Bangladesh.

“We have that time difference again. People watching the game at 4am in the morning, not playing at home 8 at night,” said Arnold.

“I’m just looking forward to the Socceroos playing at home. That was my 43rd game tonight and I’ve played 9 games at home. It’s crazy.

“I’m just looking forward to a couple of home games. Two this year against Ecuador and the rest of time we’ve been away.

“I know the players are looking forward to it because I know they want to play in Australia in front of the fans.”

However, there is still so much uncertainty heading into November’s international break as the Socceroos are also scheduled to play against war-torn Palestine away from home.

There have been reports Algeria could host the qualifier amid the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.

Arnold dismissed that idea while calling for help from the Australian government.

“No doubt we’re going to need the government’s support in those type of decisions of where we’re playing Palestine and even Lebanon,” he said.

“With what’s going on at the moment, it’s quite scary.”

On the Algeria reports, Arnold added: “I don’t understand that because as far as I know you have to play your qualifiers in the confederation in which you play.

“A neutral venue has to be a neutral venue.”

He added: “Everyone is uncomfortable with it – staff, players. We’re only three weeks away from it.”