Graham Arnold has vehemently denied that his untested Socceroos squad to face Korea Republic tonight are a second string outfit, saying he expects them to win.
After a disappointing Asian Cup quarter-final exit, where Australia suffered under the absence of key midfielders Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy and Matt Leckie among others, Arnold is keen to develop depth in the Socceroos squad.
The Australian coach picked six uncapped players for the friendly against South Korea and only four players with over 15 national team appearances.
Yet Arnold still insists a win against the 37th ranked Koreans is paramount, applying pressure on the young squad to showcase their worth before World Cup qualifiers.
“It's all about the result,” Arnold told socceroos.com.au. “I expect to win and win with a great performance.
“This is an opportunity for the boys, not only individually, but as a team to show everyone their qualities.
“Bert van Marwijk, you can see by the World Cup pretty much only trusted 12 or 13 players, where I do believe we’ve got a lot more.
“But it’s not a charity, it’s a national team. You've got honour and pride that you’re representing your country.
“This is not a second team. This is a Socceroos team and I expect them to perform great [on Friday] night.”
Arnold also clarified his decision-making around leaving out some of the established Socceroos fold, after making Aziz Behich - one of the relatively few European-based Socceroos who didn't play regularly this season - captain for tonight's fixture.
He made the decision after giving an R&R pass to most of the recent Socceroos regulars for this game, leaving him short of experienced players to take the skipper's role.
“I had conversations with all of them. They were grateful that I gave them that opportunity to be rested,” Arnold added.
“When you look back at what they have done over the last four years, they haven’t had an off-season, haven’t had a holiday for three or four years.
“When you look forward to what they’ve got in front of them, they know we’ve got a lot of football in front of us with the World Cup qualifiers.
“For me, it’s not just about the physical side of being rested, it’s also about the mental side because all of them play in good leagues around the world and have different reasons for mental fatigue.
“All of them are very appreciative of me giving them this break so they can have a good holiday and then, after a good holiday, I expect to see them in top shape in September.”