Excited Graham Arnold promises bright Socceroos future

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The new Socceroos and Olyroos coach is optimistic about the future of Australian football

"I went and watched an under 17's camp the other day...I’ve seen stuff I’ve not seen in Australian football. The kids are coming."

Like a bright-eyed pupil eager for his first day of school, Graham Arnold has begun his second tenure in charge of the Socceroos with a smile and a bold claim about the future of Australian football.

With youth national teams under-performing in recent years and plenty of criticism around youth development more broadly, the new national team coach believes Australia can turn a corner.

Set to juggle both Socceroos and Olyroos duties, Arnold is determined to make the most of what he believes to be a particularly bright crop of talented Australians coming through the system.

"Technically we have the quality, I do believe that," Arnold said. 

"I’m so excited about the future. It’s about giving them the opportunity. We are doing everything we can to make the opportunities right for the kids.

"The kids are coming…we have to believe it and I can see it. We’re going to the next World Cup expecting to win games."

Graham Arnold Socceroos

Arnold is determined to hit the ground running with the Socceroos and has already touched base with most of the players included in Australia's recent World Cup squad.

Among those is 25-year-old striker Jamie Maclaren, who despite not taking to the pitch in Russia, backs himself to shine in the green and gold in years to come. 

"Just talking to Jamie Maclaren the other day, that kid really believes in himself and my job is to give him that belief when he goes out onto the field and do what he does best," Arnold said. 

"It’s about those kids going out there and believing in themselves."

One 'kid' that isn't lacking any belief right now is Daniel Arzani, who is about to be bought by Manchester City before being loaned out to Celtic.

Arnold was full of praise for one of Australia's brightest talents and is hopeful he can get game time in Scotland.

"It’s a big move for the kid. He’s a very intelligent kid. He knows what his plans is," he said. 

"The most important thing, and he’s aware of that, is wherever he goes he has to play.

"He believes in himself a lot. He believes going to Celtic he will get to play more games in Scotland and being part of a Champions League squad than he probably would here in Australia.

"I’m sure he will do exceptionally well."

Daniel Arzani Socceroos

Returning as Socceroos coach after a poor spell in charge over a decade ago, Arnold boldly acknowledged his past and is determined to pave a brighter future. 

"If there’s one thing I’m half decent at it’s learning from mistakes," he said.

"I can sit here today and say in 2007 I wasn’t a coach, I inherited a job I didn’t deserve. Trying to replace Guus Hiddink, it’s like going from the top to the bottom in one go.

"I’ve walked away from that a much better coach. I feel I do deserve this opportunity and I’m ready for this opportunity."

After resurrecting his coaching career in the A-League with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC, Arnold admitted he's ready to offer tactical flexibility when needed. 

"Bert van Marwijk everybody talked about being more of a defensive coach, Ange Postecoglou an attacking coach, I’d like to consider myself in between," he said.

"For me it’s about being flexible. Some games you may need to play a back three or a back four…but it’s important the principals stay the same.

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"My first aim and my main goal is the Asian Cup."

While defending the Socceroos 2015 title will be Arnold's first target, a national team camp in September will give him his first chance to come to grips with the squad. 

A friendly game in October then awaits before two more hit-outs in November, with one of the three set to act as a testimonial for Tim Cahill. 

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