It’s one of the most inexperienced Socceroos sides in years, but coach Graham Arnold says their friendly against South Korea on Friday will be no charity match.
Arnold emphasised he wanted to build depth ahead of the 2022 World Cup and opted to rest several stars, including Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Mat Ryan, for the clash.
The coach defended his squad, which could see six players make their international debuts, and said it was a great opportunity for a new wave of talent to make their mark.
“I expect a high-quality performance from our boys. There’s players here with an opportunity to start their international careers,” Arnold said.
“There’s players here that haven’t been with the Socceroos for quite a while, so it’s a great opportunity for them to revitalise their international careers.
“This is an opportunity for the boys, not only individually but as a team, to show everyone their qualities.
“This is about creating depth and extra growth of the Socceroos before we go into the World Cup campaign which starts in September.”
Arnold said he had the players to get a result and even took aim at his predecessor, Bert van Marwijk, who oversaw the Socceroos disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia last year.
“For whatever reason, at the World Cup, Bert pretty much only trusted 12 or 13 players, where I believe we have a lot more to give,” Arnold said.
“I’m going to give those players the opportunity.
“It’s not a charity (match), this is the national team, it’s an honour and pride when you walk out on that field that you’re representing your country and it’s not a second-team, this is a Socceroos team.
“It is all about the result, I expect to win and win with a great performance.”
Fullback Aziz Behich will captain the side in his 36th international. Behich is the most experienced player in the squad along with centre back Matthew Spiranovic.
Arnold has recalled Mitchell Duke and Adam Taggart from international wilderness to spearhead his attack, which only produced six goals in five matches at the Asian Cup.