Olyroos must capitalise on chances: Arnold

Anna Harrington
·2-min read

Graham Arnold has urged the Australia-based Olyroos squad members to seize their opportunities in upcoming friendlies against Sydney FC and Macarthur FC.

Due to travel restrictions, the 26-player squad in camp - the first assembly of the Olyroos since January - is comprised entirely of players based in Australia.

Given only 18 players make the Tokyo squad and the likes of Riley McGree and Daniel Arzani are among those based overseas, the upcoming friendlies offer crucial minutes for Olyroos from A-League clubs.

"What everyone does from today moving forward will be about selection for the Tokyo Olympics," Arnold told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's not like I'll be paying players back and saying 'thank you for what you did in Thailand or what you did earlier on in the piece' - it's now a fresh start. There's been a nine-month break.

"Players need to work hard at their clubs, they need to play at their clubs, they need to perform and perform well as we're only allowed to pick 18 players for the Olympics and three of them possibly can be overage.

"So it's something that now is a whole new fresh start ... these games, maybe from the outside can (look like) development games ... but for me it's about these boys taking their opportunity because they've only got four more opportunities to impress before the Olympics as a group."

As overage players need to be released from their clubs for the Olympics, Arnold hinted he would be tempted to pick a squad entirely comprised of Olyroos.

Arnold said the postponed Olympics had allowed the likes of Wellington's Cameron Devlin to force their way into contention.

"I actually believe that we are going to be better prepared for the postponed Olympics more than what we probably would have been if the Olympics have gone ahead," Arnold said.

"We seem to have more depth now, we have more players coming through - we've obviously got players overseas who can't be here at the moment but we've got some good young players here that I can get the chance to look at over this week."

Sydney FC players and Perth's Brandon Wilson are likely to feature against the Sky Blues on Thursday before departing for their Asian Champions League campaigns.

The Olyroos side is expected to then change significantly for Tuesday's clash with Macarthur.

Meanwhile Brisbane's Dylan Wenzel-Halls isn't in camp as he would have been unable to travel to Sydney, then return to the Roar without completing two weeks of hotel quarantine.