Pim Verbeek has invited Simon to join the senior squad in Brisbane as Australia prepare for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Iraq.

The Central Coast Mariners striker earned the call after blasting five goals for the Olyroos at the Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia.

Before the tournament began, Simon, a former plasterer, had been hoping to impress sufficiently to earn a spot at the Beijing Olympics but his goals haven’t just caught the eye of Graham Arnold.

McKinna is delighted for the youngster and is confident the move will have positive knock on effects for the Mariners.

The Bluetongue boss told au.fourfourtwo.com: “I’m absolutely delighted for big Matty. Two years ago he was basically playing parks football. He pretty much gave up his work to come and train with us to try to earn a contract.

“He did and he has just got better and better. He trains with the same gusto that he plays with. He’s already crocked Ian Ferguson and Alex Tobin. I think I’m the only coach that he hasn’t injured yet. Hopefully it stays that way.

“Graham Arnold loves hard-working, big strikers and Matty is just that. As for the Socceroos, it will be just great for Matty to step up again and train with people like Harry Kewell. He will be all the better for it.”

McKinna is expecting Simon to return from Socceroo duty in no mood to warm the Mariners bench and that’s just fine with the coach.

He said: “He did so much damage for us in the last 20 minutes of matches last season and you could see defences hated having to deal with him. He’s going to want to come back here desperate to start games for us and that’s great.”

McKinna is also pleased that Simon will return to a dressing room where he won’t be allowed to get carried away with his international achievements.

The coach said: “The likes of John Hutchinson will absolutely slaughter him when he gets back here. Still, Matty’s not the sort to let things go to his head anyway.

“He will want to carry on getting better and adding more to his game. It’s so rewarding for a coach when you have that kind of player to work with.”