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Six Socceroos Asian Cup spots open: Arnold

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5th December, 2018
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Graham Arnold may not always be jolly, but he’s got six gifts this festive season.

The Socceroos coach has revealed half a dozen spots are still up for grabs for Australia’s Asian Cup defence in January. 

Arnold is expected to name his squad for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates in three weeks time.

And he laid down a challenge for the contenders to make one final push. 

“I was very happy with what I saw in the two games against South Korea and Lebanon. There’s still six spots up for grabs,” Arnold said on Tuesday. 

“It’s a matter of these three weeks, the players showing what their qualities are.”

Pressed on which areas Arnold was undecided on, he said: “Every department, there’s one position available in every department.

“Players who are in form, who are ready, and who have shown the experience in the past that they step up for major competitions.

“I’m excited. It’s a great period to go into.”

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Arnold’s comments came on the same day the FFA unveiled new logos for their men’s and women’s national teams.

And while it comes just in time for Arnold’s first major test in his second crack at the role, Socceroos hopefuls have just a handful of matches to impress.

The likes of Tomi Juric, Trent Sainsbury, and Jamie Maclaren were glued to the bench for their respective overseas clubs on the weekend. 

It could open the door for a number of A-League players, some of whom were mentioned by Arnold on Tuesday. 

“The A-League boys are showing a lot. I’ve been impressed,” Arnold said. 

“Craig Goodwin did excellent in camp, here in the A-League; Chris Ikonomidis is doing excellent, Joshy Risdon is showing what he’s doing, and Rhyan Grant. 

“(Adam) Taggert is scoring goals and I believe his injury is minor so he’s back in contention. There are those spots still open. 

“All the boys have an opportunity over the next three weeks to change my mind.”

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Arnold also expects to have no issues with clubs during the tournament, despite players potentially being out of action for their outfits for almost six weeks. 

“FIFA rules are that players are in 23-24 of December for the start of the camp. I’ll decide over the next few days whether we start on that date or let the players play Boxing Day and then come in,” he said. 

The Socceroos’ first pool game is against Jordan on January 6.

© AAP