Bert favours debu­tants

Nab­bout and teenager Arzani set for big roles against France

Daily Mercury - - SPORT - TOM SMITHIES IN KAZAN

FOOT­BALL: Soc­ceroos boss Bert van Mar­wijk has strongly in­di­cated he is pre­pared to throw World Cup debu­tants An­drew Nab­bout and Daniel Arzani into the caul­dron of to­mor­row night’s clash with France in Kazan.

With van Mar­wijk’s start­ing XI all but nailed down, 25-year-old Nab­bout is ex­pected to start up front against the French in just his fifth in­ter­na­tional.

And van Mar­wijk has sig­nalled strongly that Arzani, 19, who has just 23 min­utes of in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, will fea­ture off the bench.

The Dutch­man is be­lieved to be still weigh­ing up whether to put cap­tain Mile Je­d­i­nak on the bench or opt for his ex­pe­ri­ence in the mid­dle of the park, but the rest of his team seems set.

Nab­bout seems cer­tain to lead the line – a re­mark­able as­cent for a player who van Mar­wijk plucked from the A-League just 10 weeks ago for his in­ter­na­tional debut, and who scored for the Soc­ceroos in their 4-0 win over the Czech Repub­lic two weeks ago.

Later in the game, Nab­bout is likely to be joined by Arzani, who scored his debut in­ter­na­tional goal on Sun­day against Hun­gary dur­ing an ef­fer­ves­cent 17-minute cameo off the bench that in­cluded a de­fence-split­ting pass for the win­ning goal.

“You saw in the last 20 min­utes that Arzani played in Hun­gary, that’s the rea­son I took him in this squad,” van Mar­wijk said.

“He can make the dif­fer­ence. Ev­ery­body saw he can make the dif­fer­ence, that’s very im­por­tant. He is a player who can help us maybe some­times.”

Van Mar­wijk dis­missed sug­ges­tions that Arzani’s con­fi­dence was over­reach­ing, adding: “This is a good group. They call him kid. That says enough. He knows ex­actly his place.”

Nab­bout has dis­placed Tomi Juric from the start­ing XI, his mo­bil­ity and pace more suited to the coach’s plan.

“An­drew Nab­bout, I saw him in New­cas­tle play­ing (in the A-League in March),” van Mar­wijk said.

“I’d heard a lot of in­for­ma­tion about him. I think he is also a player than can make the dif­fer­ence.”

The choice of Je­d­i­nak or Mas­simo Luongo in the cen­tre of mid­field along­side Aaron Mooy is likely to go down to the wire, with van Mar­wijk pri­vately an ad­mirer of Luongo but also cog­nisant of the need for ex­pe­ri­ence in the Soc­ceroos’ open­ing game.

PHOTO: ROBERT CIANFLONE/GETTY IMAGES

READY TO GO: Soc­ceroos Mile Je­d­i­nak and An­drew Nab­bout warm up dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at Sta­dium Tru­dovye Rez­ervy in Kazan, Rus­sia.

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