Arnold backs Grant for Socceroos success

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The Sky Blues' boss reckons his all-action full-back deserves a chance at international level in Australia's upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has called on called on full-back Rhyan Grant to find "a new level" to his play after being picked in the latest Socceroos squad.

Grant and Sky Blues team-mate Danny Vukovic were amongst the uncapped members of Ange Postecoglou's 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates.

The Sydney duo will get one more chance to impress Postecoglou on Friday night when Arnold's side host Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, with the Socceroos' squad set to be trimmed to 23 players next week.

Arnold has backed Grant to make an impact at international level, although he insisted the 26-year-old can still improve.

"Once you get to international level it's about the four pillars – technical, tactical, physical and mental. And a lot of it is about athleticism and he [Grant] has that," Arnold said on Thursday.

"He can run all day, he's quick, he's aggressive and he's improving out of sight with his decision-making and last ball.

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"He could probably have had double figures as goals as a right full-back, which shows how far he is getting forward down the pitch. Ange has always shown he likes full-backs that can get forward.

"He [Grant] fits the model but now it's about the concentration side for 90 minutes and stepping up to a new level."

Few would have labelled Grant a potential Australia international before this season but the one-time utility has nailed down a spot in Sydney's vaunted defence, starting 21 of 22 A-League matches in 2016-17.

Even Grant conceded in November that he "never really considered" himself a candidate for the Socceroos.

Arnold said: "As I said to him yesterday,'if I had said that to you six months ago you wouldn't have believed it and now you have that opportunity'.

"What he has done well for us is what he has to do well at international level. Ange has picked him on his capabilities and what he's good at and nothing changes. 

"They [Grant and Vukovic] have the opportunity to be part of a World Cup and be part of a Confeds Cup and it's about how bad they want it."

 

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