Arzani to prove he ‘belongs’ with the Socceroos

A-League Men Grand Final - Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
Daniel Arzani’s form with Melbourne Victory this season has earnt him a recall to the Socceroos squad. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Daniel Arzani is adamant he “belongs” in a Socceroos jersey and he intends to prove it in Australia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine.

The former prodigy is set to make first Socceroos appearance since the 2018 World Cup after being recalled to the national squad by coach Graham Arnold.

“This is where I belong, and hopefully I can build on it,” said the Melbourne Victory star from the Socceroos camp in Bangkok, where they are preparing for next Thursday night’s clash with Bangladesh in Dhaka and a June 11 battle with Palestine in Perth.

However, Arzani admitted that in recent years there were times when he didn’t have such confidence.

Not helping was a four-season, injury-affected spell in Europe, where he bounced from club to club on loan from English Premier League giants Manchester City, who signed the attacking weapon as a 19-year-old in August 2018.

“Along the journey that I’ve had the last couple of years there was definitely moments of not believing in myself and doubting myself,” Arzani admitted.

A-League Men Grand Final - Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
The agony of losing the A-League grand final for Daniel Arzani has been eased his selection in the Socceroos squad. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

However, that started to change in July last year when he joined the Victory from Macarthur FC.

“It really helped with the team and the environment that I was in this year,” he said.

“We were very competitive, very professional, and it was a really great bunch of lads.

“They all got around me, they helped me out a lot, and I’m in a really good place right now.

“I’ve improved so much different aspects of my game that I didn’t have before.

“My movements off the ball are much better. I’m much better defensively. I was always good on the ball, exciting going forward but I think those certain aspects of my game were lacking to make me a more well-rounded player.

“Those are the things that I worked on this year, and also being more consistent across my performance has helped too.”

Being picked in the latest Socceroos squad also helped ease Arzani’s pain of A-League grand final defeat following the Victory’s 3-1 extra-time loss to Central Coast Mariners last Saturday night.

“Obviously I was really, really disappointed with the way the grand final turned out. It was a really tough pill to swallow for us as a squad,” he said.

“Hearing the good (Socceroos) news the next day helped me out quite a bit because instead of sitting on what had happened during that game for the next three months … it gave me something to look forward to again rather than just being upset about what happened for the whole off season.”

Arzani hopes to eventually return to Europe to further his club career, and believes playing for the Socceroos will help him achieve that goal.

“Being consistent throughout the season is just as important, and coming in here and also showing what I can do at a higher level is also important,” he said.

“Playing good with the national team is incredible. It’s something that I really would love to be able to do if I managed to get on the pitch.”