Socceroos coach Graham Arnold says it is crucial Mat Ryan and Daniel Arzani get regular match time at the club level, with the men’s national team facing a hectic 2021 international season.
Ryan has not played for Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion since last month, while Arzani appears to be unwanted at Dutch club FC Utrecht, where he is on loan.
The Socceroos have a host of World Cup qualifiers this year as they look to secure a berth at the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Arnold said he was concerned by the fact Ryan and Arzani were not playing on a regular basis with their clubs.
“I talk to Maty probably once every three of four days, because I know how Maty is. Mentally, he’s a guy who just wants to play all the time,” Arnold told The ABC Football Podcast.
“I spoke to Mark Schwarzer, as well, and he’s reached out to him to share his experiences on dealing with it. It’s something different for Maty, but the most important thing is he’s still happy and working hard.
“Do we expect something to happen in January? We’re still waiting to see.
“Maty knows he’s probably not going to play there and he wants to play so no doubt he’s got his agent working on it and we’ll see where that lands, but it is a worrying thing because you need your goalkeeper to be playing all the time.”
Arzani, who joined Utrecht on a season-long loan from Premier League giant Manchester City, does not seem to be in the immediate plans of manager Rene Hake.
The 22-year-old has only made four league appearances for the club.
Arnold said it would be in Arzani’s best interests to find a new club at this point of his career.
“I thought Utrecht would be a good move for him,” he said.
“The manager there when he signed, that I know personally and had spoken to him personally about Daniel, was excited to have him there, but he moved on and the new manager hasn’t given him much of a chance.
“If he’s not going to play there, it’s better that he gets out of there and moves on where he’ll get some minutes, because I believe he’s at the crossroads of his career.
“He’s shown his great quality as an impact player, especially at the  World Cup, but it’s just so important that his next move can provide 90 minutes over and over again.”
Irvine showing ‘his worth’
On a more positive note, Arnold said he was encouraged to see Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine make his first appearance for Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership following his recent release from Hull City.
“I was really surprised when Hull announced that he was leaving and that he didn’t get picked up straight away, but these things happen during COVID, with a clampdown on wages and clubs giving locally-based players a go,” he said.
“Jackson just found himself in a situation he didn’t expect to be in. He was one we really had to reach out a lot to.
“Andrew Clark (Football Australia’s high-performance co-ordinator) was working with him from here to keep him fit and ready, and it’s great he’s gone back to Scotland where he has a good name from his time at Celtic.
“The manager knows him and obviously [Socceroos teammate] Martin Boyle knows him, so it’s just fantastic that he’s back on the field, and I know he’ll show his worth.”
Meanwhile, Arnold said he was looking forward to finalising his Olyroos squad for the Tokyo Olympics, which will be their first appearance at the Games since Beijing in 2008.
“Last January, when we qualified, we had maybe 10 players playing in this country eligible for the Olympics,” he said.
“Sitting back now and watching all these kids coming through and some I don’t even know, we’ll be so well prepared for Tokyo.
“We have an abundance of kids overseas as well that I haven’t really seen. Caleb Watts has made his debut for Southampton now. I haven’t seen him first-hand – I know Trevor Morgan ((Football Australia technical director) has, but I haven’t. And that with the kids here who are doing fantastically, it’s great.
“And a big part of that is because we have 11 Australian coaches here in the A-League and the 12th (Western Sydney Wanderers coach Carl Robinson) thinks the Australian way. Australian coaches believe in Aussie kids.”