Nestory Irankunda to make his Socceroos debut

Teenage phenom Nestory Irankunda will have free reign to torment Bangladesh’s defense when he makes his debut for the Socceroos in Dhaka on Thursday evening.

After impressing national coach Graham Arnold on and off the training pitch at the Socceroos’ ground, the Bayern Munich-bound winger is sure to get playing time in Australia’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Bengal Tigers, both as a starter and from the bench.

And once Irankunda is on the park, the Socceroos will adapt to him rather than the former Adelaide United star being forced to adapt to a certain structure.

“I’m not going to try to control him and get him to do things that aren’t his specialty,” Arnold said.

“What he is very, very good at is doing what Nestor does and we will incorporate that into our style of play and also into our system.

“There’s just a couple of little things about his defensive side, but that’s why we need the older guys on the field, some of them to help coach and mentor the younger guys to make them feel comfortable on the field “.

Arnold said 18-year-old Irankunda has fit in “extremely well” into the Socceroos’ culture.

“He was very good. He hangs out with a lot of guys from the senior team, which is good to see, and he’s trained very, very well,” the Socceroos boss said.

“I’m excited and happy that everyone is talking about the boy.

“He’s a great talent but it’s not always just about talent. It’s also about the direction your career will take.

“He will go to Bayern Munich, but it is also about how much hard work he puts in and how much confidence he has in himself to go to the next level.”

Arnold was also impressed with former prodigy Daniel Arzani, who has the chance to make his first Socceroos appearance since the 2018 World Cup.

“He brought some energy. Wherever he sits, everyone laughs, which is great, but also on the training pitch he was very good,” he said of Melbourne Victory’s attacking weapon.

“You can see he has the real commitment and hunger to come back and be with us on the long journey ahead.”

While Arnold did not confirm his full starting squad, he said Aston Villa’s third-choice goalkeeper Joe Gauci will start ahead of Victory’s Paul Izzo and Western Sydney’s Lawrence Thomas in the absence of the long-serving keeper and skipper given Mat Ryan, who has rested from the clash with Bangladesh and next week’s battle with Palestine in Perth.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to see Joey again, but he hasn’t played since he’s been at Villa, so it’s about getting him on the pitch and making sure he’s working very well with the other two goalkeepers and (goalkeeping coach) John Crawley,” he said. said Arnold.

“I’m having some headaches (about the selection), but they’re nice headaches given the depth we’ve created and built in recent years.

“When I look at the squad list, there are 10 to 13-14 players who are not here due to injuries or other reasons, but it shows that we are getting stronger and stronger, which is exciting.”

AFC Second Round, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Bangladesh-Australia

Thursday, Bashundhara Kings Arena, Dhaka, 8.45pm (AEST)

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