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Olyroos must come before A-League, says McGree

7:27 AM GMT+8 21/03/2019
Riley McGree Melbourne City
"Its national team comes first..."

Melbourne City attacker Riley McGree has declared the national team must come first after 16 A-League players were called up early to an Olyroos camp.

That decision left A-League coaches Kevin Muscat and Markus Babbel fuming at Graham Arnold with the Olyroos set to play a series of AFC qualifiers. 

Arnold is desperate to see Australia's youth side improve with McGree agreeing that in this instance the Olyroos had to be given priority. 

"Its national team comes first and I think that most clubs are quite co-operative," McGree said on Wednesday.

"It’s important for us to come here because we want to qualify for the Olympics and that, ideally, will be one of the biggest stages that we could possibly play on in our careers.

"I think missing a (A-League) game you come back and you try and work hard and you get yourself back in there no matter what."

While the Olyroos three competitive games fall during the international break, the squad was asked to arrive in Malaysia early and have since played two friendly matches.

Set to play their qualifying matches in humid Cambodian conditions on an artificial pitch, McGree stressed it was important that they got together prior to the international break. 

"I think that week was invaluable," he said.

"As a squad, we haven’t played too many games together and been together too much, so I definitely think that helped us come together as a squad and get used to the environments and the pitches we’re going to be up against here in Asia.

"I think, definitely, if we were to show up as a squad and come into camp today I really don’t think we’d be prepared."