Crocked Socceroo Daniel Arzani is back on the road to recovery and expected to be back playing for the green and gold before the end of the year, said coach Graham Arnold today.
Arzani has been out of action since ripping his ACL on debut for Celtic while on loan fro Manchester City last November.
Pep Guardiola arranged for the 20 year old prodigy to be flown out to Barcelona immediately to see his knee specialist who carried out the repair surgery.
Since then Arzani has been between Australia, Manchester and Glasgow as he goes through post-op rehab on the long route back to his best.
He missed the Asian Cup along with fellow new Socceroo Martin Boyle who suffered a similar injury in the warm up friendly against Oman at Christmas, while Mathew Leckie has missed the last two of his club games for Hertha Berlin.
Today though Arnold said Arzani was close to a comeback and was already running.
"He's pretty much back in training fully," said Arnold at the Socceroos training camp in Busan where Australia will play a friendly against South Korea next week.
"But it's the same with him and Boyle and Leckie. We have a lot of injuries at the moment."
Arnold said his experimental squad in Korea was in response to the injury crisis Australia faced in the UAE at the Asian Cup.
"We don't want to rely on the same 14/15 players over the over the next four years, which we pretty much have done for the last number of years," he said.
"To have a healthy competitive environment is critical to me. In the past number of years we've had a very settled squad.
"To be the greatest Socceroo team in history, we need depth. We need players to push each other for positions and to make my job extremely tough.
"I truly believe there is great depth and some great individual players that will make the team and the squad extremely strong going into this world cup campaign that starts in September."
The draw for Australia's first round of World Cup qualification will be made on July 17, with the first matches to be played in September on a 20-game road to Qatar 2022, excluding possible play-offs.
Arnold expects Arzani to be back in time for the World Cup qualifiers and will definitely be ready for the Olympics qualifiers in January.
He added: "The whole purpose of this game is if we lose our whole front line again, like we did at the Asian Cup that we will have the depth and the quality to replace that through the World Cup qualifiers."