After years of promise, Chris Ikonomidis has more than lived up to his potential this season for club and country.
From four goals in his first five appearances for Perth Glory to four assists from five Asian Cup appearances for the Socceroos, the 24-year-old attacker is no longer a prospect and now a highly-rated player.
“What impressed me about him especially early on was that (Tony Popovic) played a completely different system than what Chris was probably used to,” Arnold told Fox Sports.
“He played more as a winger and coming inside as a number 10 so he’s very, very flexible.
"I was a little bit surprised how good he really was in the Asian Cup.”
Ikonomidis scored once and contributed four assists in the UAE as he and Awer Mabil gave the Socceroos' disappointing campaign some silver lining.
While his strong performances took Arnold by surprise, Ikonomidis is clearly determined to give his all for the green and gold.
“I’ve always told people the biggest pleasure I’ve got in my life, in my football career, is when I put on that green and gold jersey,” Ikonomidis told Fox Sports’ Bill & Boz Show.
"I’ll continue to fight to be in the squad and to play and score as many goals as I can and keep developing under Arnie.
"It’s such an exciting time now in the team and in the camp and I just felt so free up top with the other young boys that were there as well. I think there’s a lot more to come with the national team."