Soc­ceroo boss holds his fo­cus

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - EMMA KEMP

HE says it’s one of his strengths, and Gra­ham Arnold’s man-man­age­ment skills are get­ting a work­out at a ma­jor tour­na­ment co­in­cid­ing with the trans­fer win­dow and rife with se­lec­tion headaches.

If the new Soc­ceroos coach didn’t al­ready have enough on his plate un­der the weight of ex­pec­ta­tion re­served for de­fend­ing Asian Cup cham­pi­ons, the dis­trac­tion of lu­cra­tive club of­fers on the ta­ble for some of his squad adds a new el­e­ment.

Ru­mours of Mi­los De­genek’s re­cently an­nounced trans­fer to cashed-up Saudi pow­er­house Al-Hi­lal have fol­lowed the de­part­ing Red Star Bel­grade cen­tre-back since the be­gin­ning of camp.

Mel­bourne City are be­lieved to be tar­get­ing striker Jamie Ma­claren, on loan with Hiber­nian from Ger­man club Darm- stadt, and also have Urawa Red Di­a­monds for­ward An­drew Nab­bout on their wish­list.

And Nor­way-based Alex Gers­bach is re­port­edly in talks about a con­tract with NAC Breda, the for­mer club of Arnold, who con­firmed “Sat­ur­day night’s a great night out” in the Nether­lands city.

Some have made moves them­selves to curb the in­ter­rup­tion. It’s un­der­stood De­genek wanted Al-Hi­lal to hold off an­nounc­ing his switch un­til after the tour­na­ment.

Nev­er­the­less, it’s pre­sented a unique chal­lenge as the team nav­i­gates a less-than-straight­for­ward group stage cul­mi­nat­ing in tonight’s de­ci­sive clash with Syria in Al Ain.

“It’s a new one, that’s for sure,” Arnold said.

“Keep­ing them fo­cused on their job and keep­ing them fo­cused on what we’re do­ing while they’re get­ting agents call­ing them with of­fers — some are get­ting of­fers with crazy money.

“It can be (chal­leng­ing). At the same time, I’m fully aware of what’s go­ing on so I can talk to the play­ers about it and re­move it from their minds while they’re rep­re­sent­ing us.”

There’s also the mat­ter of break­ing bad news to play­ers be­ing dropped.

The bold move to bring in Chris Ikono­midis and Jack­son Irvine for Fri­day’s 3-0 de­feat of Pales­tine proved spot-on.

But it also meant a tough con­ver­sa­tion with Rob­bie Kruse and Mas­simo Luongo, and Arnold said he took a dif­fer­ent tack with dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties.

“That’s man man­age­ment, that’s one of my strengths,” Arnold said.

“Man man­age­ment is get­ting the best out of peo­ple. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing is a big key.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.