Graham Arnold has plenty to consider. (AAP Image/Albert Perez)
Graham Arnold has plenty to consider. (AAP Image/Albert Perez)

Why Arnold has A-League finals front and centre

SOCCEROOS boss Graham Arnold will keep an eagle eye of the A-League finals series, declaring he will use June's friendly with South Korea as a chance to experiment ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Capped and uncapped players are on the radar, including Scottish-born Harry Souttar (Fleetwood Town), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Ryan Williams (Rotherham United) and A-League trio Riley McGree, Nathaniel Atkinson (Melbourne City) and Tommy Deng (Melbourne Victory).

Arnold revealed veteran utility Mark Milligan would play on, but he and a host of Asian Cup squad members would be rested for the June 7 Busan clash.

"It's a good opportunity to test the growth and depth of the Socceroos and some players I haven't been able to see,'' Arnold said.

Brad Smith’s form will be monitored closely in the countdown to the Socceroos’ June friendly with South Korea.
Brad Smith’s form will be monitored closely in the countdown to the Socceroos’ June friendly with South Korea.

"It will be a mixture of (Asian Cup squad members) and players I haven't seen.

"Our World Cup qualifiers start in September and its a last chance for us to explore what else there is out there.

"I need to find out what happens if we get injuries, what happens if guys retire.

"I need to have the trust and belief in those players that they can go out and do a job for Australia in any match."

 Arnold attended both A-League elimination finals at the weekend, and said fresh faces could come into Socceroos reckoning if they performed when it counted.

Nathaniel Atkinson is another to come under scrutiny.
Nathaniel Atkinson is another to come under scrutiny.

The June game takes on great significance as they are the Socceroos' first games since the Asian Cup, after opting not to play a friendly in March, while Arnold took charge of the Olyroos who advanced to the final phase of Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.

"They have got two weeks and big games,'' he said.

"When you see these type of players you see how they handle the pressure and deal with it during the finals series and that sends a strong signal as well.

"I have a good list of other players as well as A-League players. This top six series is about pushing their case forward again.

"I have watched ever A-League game since I returned from the Asian Cup and I have seen the young boys come through and do exceptionally well."

News Corp Australia

Third crash in terrible weekend

Third crash in terrible weekend

Six in hospital after two-car crash.

Second crash in 24 hours at problem intersection

Second crash in 24 hours at problem intersection

One transported to hospital after an accident in Chinchilla

Students roll up for PQ Ball

Students roll up for PQ Ball

Chinchilla State High students celebrate.