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“It’s all about the negativity”: Arnold vexed by Australian media’s reaction to Socceroos squad


Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is glad his 26-man squad announcement for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is out of the way.

While it’s been an exciting day for Australian football fans, it’s been somewhat of a “tiring” few days for Arnold who has had the hard task of informing players that they wouldn’t be on board the plane to Qatar.

With the likes of Tom Rogic, Trent Sainsbury, Mitch Langerak and Adam Taggart missing out, Arnold says he had to make “very difficult” decisions when making his final calls.

“To be honest, it’s great to get this out of the way,” Arnold said on SEN Sportsday.

“Selecting a squad is always very difficult, to have to disappoint people whose dream is to go to a World Cup … to disappoint them and tell them they’re not selected, that’s been quite tiring.

“But at the end of the day, it’s a squad that I believe (is exciting).

“There are 17 players there that have never been to a World Cup before, it’s been a real turnover of players since the 2018 World Cup that generation.

“There is a new generation, there’s a lot of young kids that I worked with at the Olympics that are now coming through.”

In the aftermath of the squad announcement, much of the chatter has surrounded the players who missed instead of those selected, something Arnold believes is typical of media coverage that’s hungry for negativity.

“That’s the way Australian media are these days, it’s all about the negativity,” Arnold said.

“But for me, it’s about the positivity of the young kids, the next generation.

“Of course, we’re coming up against some great opponents but the only way you can upset those opponents is by having players that can run all day, fight all day, the old Aussie DNA.

“That is when you go out on that pitch you’ve got to win the 1v1 battles, it’s 11v11 but at the same time you’ve got to be able to compete physically with them to be able to get the result.”

Referencing the type of style he hopes his squad plays, Arnold says that the squad he has picked will be able to compete with any of their opponents athletically and mentally.

“100 per cent (fitness is a huge aspect), a lot doesn’t get spoken about the physical aspect of football anymore,” Arnold said.

“But you have to be a very good athlete, you have to be able to get around the field and do that well.

“That’s the style we expect to play at this World Cup.

“We may not be the best technical team there, but at the same time, mentally and physically we’re going to be one of the best.”

Australia’s first game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup comes against the French on Monday, November 23 (AEDT).

The Socceroos have been placed in Group D alongside France, Tunisia and Denmark.

Check out Arnold’s full squad here.

SEN will broadcast every game of this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Tournament. Socceroos legend Archie Thompson will lead the SEN call team with all games live on SEN and the SEN App.

FIFA World Cup Sportsday

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