FIFA World Cup hopeful Daniel Arzani has confirmed his allegiance to Australia after earning a call-up to Bert van Marwijk’s 32-man preliminary Caltex Socceroos squad.
After a breakout season in the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne City, Arzani, 19, is a chance of going to Turkey with the Caltex Socceroos – with the 26-man travelling squad to be announced next week.
Arzani, who has been keeping fit in the Hyundai A-League off-season by training with the Caltex Socceroos Head of Sports Science Craig Duncan, declared he was “stoked” to earn a first call-up and hopeful of going into camp if selected.
“I’m absolutely stoked to be in the squad and I’m looking forward to – hopefully – being in the 26,” Arzani told socceroos.com.au.
“I’ve been training almost every day with Craig Duncan – the Head of Sports Science with the Caltex Socceroos.
“I’ve been doing a lot of running to try and stay fit and sharp. Honestly, it’s just a lot of running, a little bit of ball work but sprinting and making sure I can increase my aerobic capacity.”
Arzani, who has played for the Joeys, Young Socceroos and Under-23s, added: “For me, it’s about trying to prove something to Bert [van Marwijk] – trying to prove I’m a valuable member of the team and hopefully I can make the 23 from there.”
But the youngster, who was also eligible to play for Iran, the nation of his birth, was clear in declaring he sees himself as Australian and wants to achieve his dream of playing for the Caltex Socceroos.
“I think the way the last couple of months have panned out, I feel like I owe an allegiance to Australia because I grew up here, I learned a lot of my football here, I was at the AIS and I’m just really happy with the decision I’ve made,” he said.
“It would be amazing to play for my country for the first team, it would be very exciting and hopefully I can do my country proud.”