Should Daniel Arzani start against France?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    There’s only one question worth asking following the Socceroos’ 2-1 win over Hungary on Sunday morning – should Daniel Arzani start against France?

    It almost beggars belief, but some Australian fans don’t seem to think Arzani is even worth a place in Bert van Marwijk’s squad.

    A few days ago I had a brief Twitter exchange with a fan who claimed that Arzani was in the squad “purely because of Australia’s football media promoting him.”

    “Tell me how he deserves a spot over someone like Troisi who is a proven Socceroo?” went the rest of the refrain.

    One word: talent. And we saw a glimpse of it when Arzani came off the bench to score at the Groupama Arena in Budapest with virtually his first touch of the ball.

    Yes, it was a horrendous piece of goalkeeping and sure, the Hungarians were pedestrian at best.

    But Arzani possesses the X-factor the Socceroos so desperately need. So much so that plenty of pundits are now wondering whether it’s worth starting him against France.

    Well then, is it? The player he came on for – Robbie Kruse – is a regular target of the boo brigade, and his cause wasn’t helped by skying a sitter over the crossbar on the 20-minute mark.

    So should Arzani start in place of Kruse? Or would he be better utilised off the bench against a fatiguing French defence?

    It’s worth remembering that for all the talk of Arzani being somewhat of an unknown heading into the World Cup, it’s not like France won’t have a team of video analysts on hand.

    They would have seen the same footage that the rest of us saw on Sunday.

    And it’s also worth remembering that their midfield is likely to contain N’golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi. They’re a whole other level to Hungary.

    But what Arzani possesses – sheer unbridled confidence – is the sort of thing you can’t coach.

    He’s not worth starting against France though. Not against such a star-studded midfield.

    Arzani’s best work, at least at this point in his career, is still going to come in 20-minute bursts. He played the full 90 minutes just four times in total for Melbourne City last A-League season.

    And with Kruse a seasoned veteran of the international arena – yes, he makes mistakes but he also routinely creates space for his team-mates – he’s surely a better option at this stage of the game than throwing Arzani into the lion’s den.

    Start him against Denmark if you must, Bert, provided the Socceroos lose their opener with France.

    But hold him back until the second half in Kazan when he has the chance to run at some tired legs.

    Daniel Arzani

    (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    Will Mile Jedinak feature against the French? He was benched for the first half in Budapest, but strangely enough arguably benefited from his absence.

    Massimo Luongo continues to blow hot and cold in green and gold, but surely a bigger concern is Tommy Rogic’s continuing lack of form?

    Both Luongo and Rogic are in danger of losing their places in the starting side, with the Socceroos looking stronger when Jackson Irvine is bossing the midfield.

    We’re still waiting, however, for Aaron Mooy to make a telling contribution. Maybe it will come against Les Bleus?

    However the time for tinkering is over. There are no more pre-tournament friendlies. Now it’s time for the real deal.

    The Socceroos were erratic in their pre-tournament showings in 2006, when the luckiest of 1-1 draws against the Netherlands in Rotterdam was followed by a wholly unconvincing 3-1 win over minnows Liechtenstein in Ulm.

    A young Josh Kennedy came off the bench and made his mark on that game with a headed goal on debut.

    What price a similar showing from Daniel Arzani in Kazan?

    He’s got the talent to make a difference. The question is: has he got the temperament?

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • Roar Rookie

      June 11th 2018 @ 8:14am
      Stevo said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Thanks Mike.

      “Tell me how he deserves a spot over someone like Troisi who is a proven Socceroo?” went the rest of the refrain.”

      LOLz, I laughed so hard I nearly spilt my coffee 🙂 Troisi is a good A-league player full stop. He will be nothing else.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 4:58pm
        KenoathCarnt said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        A little salty over Melbourne Victory?

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:15am
      Buddy said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Well only a few more days of speculating and dreaming up new angles to cover as we wait for that opening kick off. At least we don’t get ex internationals writing to say the Socceroos can’t win because they have players from a certain team that don’t know how to win, and oh, by coincidence, I used to play for their crosstown rivals during a period of great success.
      I inagine most of us believe we will be conceding a lot of possession against France and we know there is some frightning pace as well as 90 minutes of non stop running from Kante and co. Therefore when we have possession we need players who will make the most of limited opportunities and have the skill and panache to try something different. I have never been a fan of Kruse. I always felt he is too lightweight. He gets injured easily and gets knocked off the ball and disappears out of the game for long spells. Playing DA will be a risk no matter when and where but there is an unknown factor you will get with a young prodigious talent and who knows, he might actually get fouled in a dangerous part of the field and not be guilty of diving – and he has to be Australia’s number 1 in that department.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 11th 2018 @ 8:21am
      Waz said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      The commonly expressed belief amongst the on-line football community is that Arzani should start on the bench and come on as an impact player late in the game.

      Or put another way, Australia should start with a weaker team and then put its best players on later in the game … if we’re still in the contest that is.

      That approach makes no sense. There’s few – if any – players that have staked a claim and we can say are certain starters so it’s not like we’re talking about dislodging players who are in-form and performing to make room for Arzani.

      It’s simple – pick the players that are in form and confident. Arzani starts over several players who are out of form and lacking in confidence every day of the week.

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 8:35am
      Rick Disnick said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      He’s in form and shows a certain level of arrogance – something of a rarity within the Socceroos’ squad over the past 2-years.

      He’s also put himself in the conversation, hence this article.

      Finally, he has a cool name. For this alone, he should get the nod against the Frogs.

      Now is not the time to play it safe. It’s the World Cup baby!

      • June 11th 2018 @ 9:02am
        Buddy said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Love your cavalier type of approach RD! It reflects the way DA has been playing …not over coached and cautious. We are expected to lose and by some margin according to many so if there is a secret weapon or a part of the game that can cause surprises and a possible upset, roll him out. Hate to see him out there and pick up a serious injury though.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 9:07am
          Rick Disnick said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          The Frogs can be beaten. Every Australian has to believe that.

          We can and will get out of this group playing aggressive football. DA is part of that reason.

          At the very least: he will entertain us.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 9:13am
            Buddy said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

            No argument from around these parts. I want to be entertained more than win these days. Watching Socceroos under Ange was helping my insomnia!

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:43am
      Lance Skelton said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      I watched the friendly between the Socceroos and Hungary, and Arzani certainly made an impact on the match.

      He came on with about 20 minutes remaining after the teams had been slugging it out in the middle of the pitch for the previous 70 minutes. He looked great, and has a confidence on the ball that very few players in the Socceroos squad possess.

      Having said that, the Socceroos can’t afford a blow out against the French, or the campaign could well be over after the first Game. (Remember when the Germans put four in the back of the net in Game One 2006. The campaign was over). A good defensive unit will be what keeps the Roo boys in the contest, which is why my real concern is Milligan. He made some tremendous errors in both judgement and skill. He’s been a warrior but another game like that one, and we’re in big trouble. Surely there’s got to be some other options down back.

      Love to see Arzani off the bench and play a cameo with 30 minutes to go, and see what he can do against the French. Aussie Bert seems to be making good judgements about team selection so far, and he’s trying to get the most out of the squad he has to work with.

      Strange things can happen at World Cups, and the Socceroos are coming in with a bit of confidence. I’m sure they’ll give it everything, while you can never be sure about the French side in that regard.

      Love to see Tim Cahill come on as well and bang another goal in at a World Cup.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 9:16am
      Onside said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Arzani will blossom when he moves to either UK or Europe and then plays in the
      company of players who are 1, better than him and 2, can physically protect him.

      It’s telling that there are not yet more Australian youngsters with his talent .

      He should start, but the story of our campaign will probably be measured against
      us not having world class backs the likes of say Lucas Neil in his prime.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:29am
        Waz said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        There are plenty of players with talent coming through – Arzani is not unique we have DDS, young Wales that moved to City from CCM, then there’s Theo that’s just got a move to Europe, then there’s a fairly long list of players including the likes of Atkinson, Borello, Akbari, Italiano, Mauk, who have genuine potential …. the one thing not to be worried about is the future of the Socceroos, we have some genuine talent coming out of our youth system with more to come.

        Arzani is head and shoulders above most of them granted, but you watch – he’ll be head and shoulders above most if not all young players at this WC.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:59am
          Lionheart said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          well said Waz
          all the critics come out for the World Cup – if their concern for Australian football was genuine they would be right behind the A League, it’s the only way they can help improve it.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am
            Waz said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            That’s it. We seem to have a flood of really good young players coming through. Arzani is clearly the best of them at the moment but he is not alone.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 11:46am
            Onside said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Hi Lionheart, I am not a critic. My post was an observation.

            A few posts have broadened the subject of youth progress.

            If Brisbane Roar is as behind A- League improvement as
            myself , then next season will be ripper .

            As far as improving Australian football is concerted, the key
            lies in superior under age coaching throughout the country.

            Young players are often not being taught fundamental skills
            as the coaching job regularly falls on well meaning parents.

            Fortunately A League teams now run academies to develop
            young talent, but away from the top of our football pyramid ,
            there is much to be done, (therefore long term opportunity)

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 12:42pm
              Waz said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              Agree there is more to be done on coaching but the people, systems and processes in place are way better than a decade ago and light years ahead of 25 years ago.

              Arzani is not alone, we have a long list of quality players being developed.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 1:55pm
              Lionheart said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              Onside. I can’t coach and I can’t play. All I can do to help improve the A League, and I’d suggest it’s the same with 90% of pundits on here, is support the league. That’s what I’m saying, not meaning we don’t need improved coaching and a whole lot of other things, but I’d expect that to come if we all got behind the game.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 2:29pm
                Onside said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                I think we are both on the same page .

        • June 11th 2018 @ 1:34pm
          Barca4life said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          They just need to play more Waz, i see more coming through in the next few years but like anything its all about opportunity, the more doors open the more talent that would be developed.

          Also keep an eye out on Brook, Najjarine, Grozos, Iannucci as well, these kids have x-factor like Arzani too.

          I agree the future might be bright after all, its just a matter of developing more through more clubs and pathways.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am
        The Phantom Commissioner said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        The players are out there it’s all about opportunity. For instance in the west we probably wouldn’t have seen Jacob Italiano this season if it wasn’t for another young gun Daniel Stynes getting injured pre season and now he’s earned a contract at Borussia M’gladbach. It seems every year in the A-league theres a special kid or two coming through.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 2:04pm
          Lionheart said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          Monchengladbach seems to like Australians. Correct if I’m wrong but before Kwame Yeboah there was Matt Leckie (before Berlin) and Craig More and Damian Mori before him, and of course Thomas Broich (ok, but honorary surely) and an Adelaide player who left last year whose name escapes me.

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