By Joey Lynch
Daniel Arzani will make his long-awaited return to the national setup in the coming weeks, after the talented youngster was named among 23 players for an eight-day Olyroos training camp in Qatar.
Made up of players sourced from clubs in England, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Greece, Croatia, and Australia; the squad will assemble in Doha at the beginning of the FIFA international window next week before returning to their clubs on 15 October.
The camp continues Australia’s preparations for next January’s AFC U-23 Championship, a competition which will, in turn, serve as qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Last week, Australia was drawn in Group A alongside host Thailand, Iraq, and Bahrain for that competition.
Arzani initially bypassed the Olyroos when he was named a member of then-Head Coach Bert van Marwijk’s 2018 World Squad. He has recently returned to action with Celtic’s reserves, recovering from a serious ACL injury suffered on his debut for the senior side last November.
Arzani, who has played scant minutes since he departed Melbourne City at the end of the 2017/18 A-League season to sign with Manchester City, and subsequently be loaned to Celtic Park on a two-year-deal, was recently issued a warning by Socceroos boss Graham Arnold, who raised the possibility of an early end to his time in Scotland should opportunities for senior football not present themselves.
“Rene Meulensteen, my assistant, went up to Celtic and sat with [Celtic coach] Neil Lennon and they rate him highly,” Arnold told Fox Sports.
“They love him. They think that he is a special player but at the end of the day it’s all about getting those opportunities on the pitch and getting game time and I think that will come to the forefront over the next six months.
“It’s an important six months for Daniel before potentially the January transfer window that he gets game time.
“Celtic obviously are a strong club and have got a lot of depth. Daniel is under no illusions that he has to work extremely hard to get in that side.”
Joining Arzani in Qatar will be a number of highly promising players returning to the national fold, and others that will be entering into the picture for the first time.
Forward John Iredale, who has been scoring for fun with the reserves side of Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and has earned praise from Arnold, is set to take part in the camp alongside former Perth Glory sensation Jacob Italiano – who is now at Borussia Monchengladbach.
George Timotheou – who now plays for Belgian side S.V. Zulte Waregem but made headlines when he started for Bundesliga side Schalke 04 at the end of the 2018/19 season – will be on a plane to Qatar, as will Panathinaikos’ Panos Armenakas and Hajduk Split’s Anthony Kalik.
Highly-rated 19-year-old Fulham prospect Tyrese Francois will make his first appearance in the Australian national setup, whilst Ipswich attacker Ben Folami – who is himself returning from a torn Achilles – will join him in making the journey from England to Doha.
With the squad that recently took on New Zealand in two friendlies in Wollongong and Campbelltown dominated by Australian-based players, only six players from the A-League will take part in this camp.
Sydney FC’s Patrick Flottmann, Melbourne City’s Denis Genreau, Western Sydney Wanderers’ Tate Russell, Adelaide United’s Daniel Margush and Newcastle Jets’ Johnny Koutroumbis and Angus Thurgate will be a part of the camp – ruling them out of round one of the A-League season.
Australia U-23 Men’s National Football Team 23-Player Squad | Training Camp (7-15 October 2019) | Doha, Qatar
|Panos ARMENAKAS||Panathinaikos, Greece|
|Daniel ARZANI||Celtic FC, Scotland|
|Daniel BOUMAN||SC Cambuur-Leeuwarden, Netherlands|
|Kai CALDERBANK-PARK (Gk)||Burnley FC, England|
|Gabriel CLEUR||U.S. Alessandria Calcio, Italy|
|Alberto DEL GROSSO||A.S. Citadella, Italy|
|Zac DUNCAN||AGF Aarhus, Denmark|
|Patrick FLOTTMAN||Sydney FC, Australia|
|Ben FOLAMI||Ipswich Town FC, England|
|Tyrese FRANCOIS||Fulham FC, England|
|Denis GENREAU||Melbourne City FC, Australia|
|Alex GERSBACH||AGF Aarhus, Denmark|
|John IREDALE||WfL Wolfsburg II, Germany|
|Jacob ITALIANO||Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany|
|Anthony KALIK||Hajduk Split, Croatia|
|John KOUTROUMBIS||Newcastle Jets, Australia|
|Joshua LAWS||Fortuna Dusseldorf II, Germany|
|Daniel MARGUSH (Gk)||Adelaide United, Australia|
|Ashley MAYNARD-BREWER (Gk)||Charlton Athletic FC, England|
|Tate RUSSELL||Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia|
|Dylan RYAN||Willem II, Netherlands|
|Angus THURGATE||Newcastle Jets, Australia|
|George TIMOTHEOU||Zulte Waregem, Belgium|