Sydney FC Coach Graham Arnold says he faces a selection headache ahead of his side's season opener on Saturday with 24 fit players to choose from to face Melbourne City FC at Allianz Stadium.
Arnold said while he has a youthful side this season it wouldn’t affect his judgement as he stresses over who to select for Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season.
“Last year when I came in we had three players under the age of 21 now we have 11 Australian kids,” he said.
“I’ve got a huge belief in Australian youth and I think Australian youth deserves to get a go and those kids will add the depth to our squad.
“I look at Alex Gersbach, he’s got a great future, he came straight out the AIS and played 17 games, straight in the first team and he fatigued in the last 7 or 8 games. For me second year around he’ll have a bigger year.
“I’ve got big expectations on George Blackwood, an exciting talented youngster, physically he’s even better and Brandon O’Neill from Perth Glory has made a huge impression since he joined the club.
“I think we’ve got a better squad, I’ve got 24 players that could probably play in any other team in the country and they’re all competing to play in the one team this weekend.”
Arnold quelled rumours about a departure to Europe as he said he’s confident his side can go one better this season after missing out on the Premiership by three points and finishing as runners up in the 2015 Grand Final.
“Agents call all the time and they always ask what your contract situation is and where you’re at,” he said.
“But I’m a Sydney FC coach, I’m there Saturday night and I’m looking forward to the Melbourne City game and that’s all it is.
“This year I feel that we have more adaptable players to maybe go one step further,” he continued.
“At this moment you’d have to say they [Melbourne Victory] are the best team because they won the Premiership and the Grand Final.
“Last year we played them four times, we drew with them three times and only lost once so we’re not that far behind.
“For me it’s about us, if we turn up, prepare properly and have our preparation perfect then we’re confident we can do anything in the competition because for me our biggest opponent is ourselves.”
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