Should Graham Arnold continue to lead the Socceroos?


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I have no shame in expressing that I did not predict that Graham Arnold would be as successful as he did in Qatar. In fact, I thought he should have been fired if Australia couldn’t book their place at the 2022 World Cup.

In a classic twist of fate, the narrative around his future shifted from genuine concern to sudden optimism following Socceroos success at the 2022 World Cup.

He certainly proved me and many other Aussie fans wrong.

To the 59-year-old’s credit, he stayed true to his guns throughout a very tough World Cup qualifying campaign to eventually achieve milestones that hadn’t been taken by any other Socceroos team on the most major international sports scene.

Arnold was able to guide the Australians to their first ever clean sheets, claim two group stage wins and score in every game they played – all of these achievements hold incredible value and significance in their World Cup history.

Despite these successes, there is still a part of me that believes the Socceroos could benefit from a culture change.

We all know that Arnold will soon have key talks with Football Australia (FA) over his future.

These conversations will be crucial and will no doubt shape the direction of Australian rules football heading into the 2023 AFC Asian Cup and 2026 World Cup.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

So, is Arnold the right man for you? Or has he pushed the Socceroos as far as he can over the past four years?

The former Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC manager has undoubtedly had an influential presence in the Socceroos system, first as a player and then as a manager – spanning an almost unbelievable 40 years.

You can’t help but feel that Arnold finally got the respect he deserved after the World Cup, which is a little disappointing considering how long and hard he worked to win it. .

He knows A-League talent better than anyone and that has been decorated with his seven caps for Qatar – equaling Australia’s record at a World Cup since Brazil 2014 under Ange Postecoglou.

His ability to manage the team brilliantly through to the round of 16 – only the second time in Australian history – showed that he had squeezed far more from the group of players than many people realize. had planned.

Arnold has certainly earned the right to lead the country in the future. But is that what I and the majority of Australian rules football fans want? I’m not so sure.

I have always believed in the idea that a European coach is the best candidate for the Socceroos. You just need to tap into the huge influence Arnold’s longtime friend and mentor Guus Hiddink has built for Australian rules football.

Although European knowledge of Australian rules football may be a bit imperfect compared to Australian managers, I think having that European influence on our football is the way to go.

Hiddink was the first manager to make the Aussies believe they could play on the world stage and arguably led the best Socceroos side we have ever seen as they progressed to the Cup knockout stages World Cup 2006 in Germany.

However, in the same breath, I recognize that European coaches have not always worked for the Socceroos. I also see why having a local manager is more beneficial for talent development in this country. Generally speaking, these European managers after the Hiddink days were unable to steer the Socceroos in the right direction.

Now we wait to see what the future holds for the Socceroos.


Sports Grp2

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