Socceroos winger Martin Boyle has revealed he sought the backing of Australia coach Graham Arnold before completing his lucrative switch from Hibernian to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Faisaly.
Reluctant to do anything to jeopardize his hard-won national team spot, 12-cap Socceroo Boyle, 28, didn’t put pen to paper on the life-changing move until getting Arnold’s feedback on whether decamping to the Saudi Pro League would affect his green and gold prospects.
Boyle's Socceroos guarantee
- Socceroos winger Martin Boyle consulted with Australia's head coach Graham Arnold before sealing his move from Scotland to the Saudi Pro League.
- The $5.5 million transfer fee netted Hibs a windfall and the personal terms provided a bonanza for Boyle.
- The attacking weapon says Australia will go into their vital World Cup clash with Oman brimming with confidence.
More news on Aussies Abroad can be found on FTBL.
Happily for Boyle - looming as a key figure in Wednesday morning’s (AEDT) crucial World Cup qualifier against Oman in Muscat - Arnold’s riposte was positive.
“I gave Arnie a call before the final bid came in just to see if it would affect my international career in any way, and he gave me some good pointers,” Boyle told FTBL.
“It was great and he was a big help (in making my mind up) and I’m very grateful for that.
“I did my homework on the club and they’ve had recent success in the Kings Cup and have been involved in the Asian Champions League.
“They’re having a bit of a stop-start season and I’m keen to go in, hit the ground running and help them.”
As this stage of his career, Boyle - who bagged 14 goals for Hibs this season - the move to the Middle East presents future financial security playing in a league which is growing in stature.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for myself and the family,” added Boyle. “It wasn’t an easy decision for me (after seven seasons at Easter Road) and was in the pipeline for a while.
“But at the same time it was a win-win for myself and Hibs (who received a $5.5 million transfer fee for the player who had two years left on his contract).
“For Al-Faisaly to throw that sort of money about it showed they really wanted me.
“I wanted to leave on good terms, which I did, and (the fee) was fantastic for the club.
“I can’t wait to get out there now and get started.
“They’re a good club and I’ll be joining up with the team straight after this (Socceroos) camp.
“We’re at the halfway point in the season and I can’t wait to get started.
“There are some top players in the league and the club has a lot of ambition.”
With Australia’s final Group B qualifier against the Green Falcons in March, Boyle will also be well placed to add valuable intel to his Socceroos teammates.
Right now though, three points are imperative in Muscat keep Australia in the mix for automatic qualification with group leaders Saudi Arabia and second-placed Japan, who meet on Tuesday night in Saitama.
“We had a fantastic (4-0) result against Vietnam and could have had a few more,” Boyle said.
“We won’t be taking Oman lightly - they’ll be tough but we raring to go. We know it’s a must-win match and we’re fully aware what’s at stake.
“If we impose our style on them I’m sure we’ll cause them plenty of problems.
“It’s a massive game but we’re not going to be worried what happens between Japan and Saudi Arabia.”
The Scottish Premiership is broadcast on BeIN Sports in Australia.