The waiting and speculation are over. Arnie’s Olyroos have been selected so the debate turns now from who should be in the 18 to who should be in the 11 for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
Arnie tends to play a 4-2-3-1 so I’ll assume that, even though I’d rather see a more attacking 433 with bombing on fullbacks. (He’ll have the bombing on fullbacks in either case).
Glover; Maynard Brewer
Selecting a goalkeeper may not be as straightforward as some might assume. Glover has been the incumbent but he does have errors in his locker – had one heart-in-mouth moment in the Grand Final and could have looked very silly if Bobo had closed him down faster. Maynard Brewer hasn’t played any senior football of note but must be very highly rated to be selected ahead of the likes of Margush and Delianov. I think Glover will be number one.
Rowles, Deng, Tongyik, Souttar, King, Atkinson
The backs are far more interesting – not least as both Atkinson and Tongyik are also capable of playing in midfield. Arnie trying Tongyik in the number six position against (I think) Jordan might be a clue, and Atkinson has been a revelation at right half in the last two City matches – in both of which he was MOTM.
I’d be happy with Atkinson at right back, knowing he would get forward. Joel King is the only specialist left back, although Deng and Tongyik could probably play anywhere in the backline. Deng has played left back before, but I expect it will be Joel King after his breakout season.
The centre pairing is the hardest choice. Souttar as an incumbent Socceroo must be a certainty, although Arnie might be tempted to trust the Mariners pairing that did so well for the Mariners this season. Assuming he does go with Souttar, it would have to be either Tongyik or Deng next to him as Rowles (while he had a great season) needs a fast partner. Souttar is not fast so I don’t think he and Rowles can be picked together. Souttar and Tongyik is my guess. They’ll be unbeatable in the air, and Tongyik is a beast in the tackle.
Pierias, Baccus, Metcalfe, McGree, Genreau, Watts
The defensive midfielders are a mystery. It’s the one thing that makes me wonder whether Arnie’s not going with his usual 4231 as he doesn’t have a lot in the way of sixes. Maybe he is going to use Tongyik there?
If not, you’d think it would have to be Genreau and McGree. I don’t know enough about Caleb Watts but I gather he’s more of an attacking midfielder. The fact he’s played in the EPL tells me a lot though.
Piscopo, Duke, D'Agostino, Arzani
The three attacking midfielders I would pick are Arzani and Piscopo wide, with either Metcalfe or Watts at number ten.
That leaves Duke as the nine with D’Agostino his understudy.
So that means a starting eleven of:
Atkinson, Tongyik, Souttar, King
Arzani, Watts, Piscopo
The possible change would be Tongyik for Genreau and Deng next to Souttar.
That’s a very solid looking defensive team with plenty of pace and creative threat going forward.
We may be in a Group of Death with Argentina, Egypt and Spain, but there is enough experience and ability in this squad to give me confidence we won’t be embarrassed.
And we might even surprise a few people also.
Adrian's books can be purchased at any good bookstore or through ebook alchemy. His first sci-fi novel will be published by Hague Publishing in late 2021.