Socceroos coach Graham Arnold’s recent comments caused some to groan and others to giggle.
Former Socceroos winger Stan Lazaridis has declared Josh Risdon the best right back in the country, saying the Perth Glory defender has even become too good for the A-League.
Risdon is in line to earn his third Socceroos cap when Australia take on England at the Stadium of Light on May 27.
Lazaridis says Risdon has the chance to become a Socceroos main-stay ahead of the 2018 World Cup, and he hopes the 23-year-old will make the switch to Europe after spending one more season with Glory.
“I do believe he should be overseas … because he’s too good to still be here,” Lazaridis said of Risdon, who is contracted to Glory for one more season.
“And I mean that in a really good way.
“I said to him that he’s got to be playing for some Dutch team next year, or the year after. Maybe win Glory a flag (first).”
Ivan Franjic, Tarek Elrich, Jason Geria, and Ryan McGowan are other right-back options at the disposal of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
But Lazaridis said Risdon trumped them all, comparing the West Australian to former Tottenham defender Stephen Carr.
“Josh is just like this angry little dog that won’t leave you alone,” Lazaridis said.
“He keeps running, and he goes forward.
“He’s probably been the best right back in Australia for the past three years … and I think he can make that spot his own.
“Josh needs to work on a couple of things, probably his final delivery and when he chooses to go forward. But that will come with experience.”
Risdon said he was looking forward to taking on the might of England, who are in the thick of preparing for next month’s Euro 2016.
Lazaridis was part of the Australian outfit who stunned England 3-1 on enemy territory in the last match between the two countries in 2003.
Risdon hopes an under-strength Australian outfit can emulate that success.
The Socceroos will be without the likes of Tim Cahill, Mathew Leckie, Trent Sainsbury, Matthew Spiranovic and Nathan Burns, but Risdon is still daring to dream of an upset.
“You don’t want to go in with the mentality that it’s a hard game and we’re going to get thrashed,” Risdon said.
“You want to go in thinking you can win, no matter who the opponent is.
“Watching a game like that (when Australia beat England 13 years ago) inspires you on – watching your heroes.
“It was definitely a game that drove me on to become a professional player.”
Lazaridis knows it will be an even tougher challenge to knock off England this time around.
“We caught England by surprise that night. We were really under-estimated. That won’t happen this time around,” Lazaridis said.