Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has described Premier League interest in defender Harry Souttar as “fantastic” after reports emerged that both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur were interested in his services.
According to The Sun, Everton assistant coach Duncan Ferguson was in the stands to keep an eye on Soutter who took part in Stoke City’s clash against West Bromwich Albion over the weekend.
The report also states Toffees centre-back Yerry Mina is set to depart the club for the Italian Serie A – opening the door for Souttar to potentially replace the Colombian.
Similar reports from the Stoke Sentinel also suggest Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur are keeping tabs on the 22-year-old who has been in a standout in the English Championship this season.
“It’s fantastic news,” Arnold said of the Premier League interest.
“There was a few whispers just before we went to the Olympics about a few Premier League clubs and he’s gone back to Stoke City and played exceptionally well,
“He’s got a coach that trusts him enormously in Michael O’Neill but once again when you look at Harry, he’s probably one of the only players I had at the Olympics that matched any of the other teams that were there and all the players that were at the Olympics for match minutes,
“Harry’s got so much potential, he’s great to have around, he’s got such a great mentality and such a great kid. It’s fantastic for Australia and for Harry that those type of things happen.”
Souttar will shift his focus from the Potters promotion push to the Socceroos’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Japan where he’s set to feature regularly given Milos Degenek’s last-minute withdrawal after testing positive to COVID-19.
Arnold also confirmed that despite the diagnosis, Degenek is feeling fine but disappointed about being forced to withdraw.
“Most important thing is Milos is okay and he’s got no symptoms at all,” Arnold said.
“I spoke to him, he feels down because he was so excited to come into camp… of course Milos is going to be missed but you bring in a great player in Bailey Wright who has a lot of experience it shows the depth is there.”
A win for Arnold’s side against Oman on Friday morning will help further solidify their push for a top-two finish which will guarantee them a place in Qatar later next year.
However, the Gulf Samba won’t be an easy-beat for the Socceroos having defeated Japan on the road and pushing Saudi Arabia to the limit – falling 1-0 to The Green Falcons.
“We respect every opposition but my expectations are around our performance,” Arnold said.
“I do believe that we’ll improve every-time we get together. I thought last camp we did very well but I expect an improvement on those performances,
“We have to keep the messaging simple about Oman, they have great energy, they work hard and that’s the most important thing that we much that.”
Australia vs Oman
Date: Friday, 8 October 2021
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-off: 5.30am (AEDT)