Graham Arnold hopes to take a leaf out of some European giants’ books in the latest phase of his Socceroos revamp.
Arnold named his third Australia squad since taking charge of the national team after the World Cup on Thursday, naming a squad of 23 plus four ‘train-on’ players.
Arnold has had just the one look at his team in action, which came in a comfortable 4-0 win over Kuwait in October.
A friendly in Brisbane against fellow Asian power South Korea will provide a far sterner test Saturday week with the Asian Cup less than three months away.
Arnold will be looking to model his new-look team on Liverpool and PSG – two teams specifically namedropped – as preparations ramp up.
With both teams playing in the Champions League and in the upper echelons of the Premier League and Ligue 1, it is a high bar to set.
Not too shabby are the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe and co.
“If I can replicate and make it easy, it’s a bit like the way Liverpool’s playing, and Paris Saint-German, with three No.9s, three players with pace, three players with good one versus one action and players who can make the difference,” Arnold said of his plans at a media conference on Thursday.
“Then the full-backs are up higher and they give us width.
“It’s a modern-day system. It’s about getting those players in the right areas to score goals.”
There are a number of pacey forwards in Arnold’s squad, including Andrew Nabbout, Awer Mabil, Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse and the newly-naturalised Martin Boyle.
He has now received an Australian passport so is eligible to represent Australia, the country of his father’s birth.
Fit-again No.9 is not exactly slow, either.
Arnold identified an increase of depth in his squad, declaring the pool of talent at his disposal was growing, and said narrowing things down to a best XI would be tough.
“I’ve been able to reach out to 39 players … the pool is getting deeper and deeper, the kids are coming,” he added.
“The young kids give a lot of energy … it’s going to be tough to select a starting XI.
“Milos Degenek was outstanding against Liverpool. Aaron Mooy has been outstanding for Huddersfield.
“They’re getting big games. Maty Ryan, player of the month in the Premier League.
“How great’s that? Australian players. Sometimes we prefer to look at the bad things but I prefer to look at the positive things that are going on.
“There’s a lot of positive things happening.”