Sport Football Socceroos coach Graham Arnold to oversee Olyroos’ Olympic bid
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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold to oversee Olyroos’ Olympic bid

New Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. Photo: AAP
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New Socceroos boss Graham Arnold will also take over as Olyroos coach as part of a national restructure.

Australia’s under-23 men’s team has not qualified for the Olympics since Beijing 2008, adding an extra dimension to an already challenging task for Arnold.

His coaching set-up has also been confirmed, with high performance guru Andrew Clark and analyst Doug Kors following him from Sydney FC.

Arnold’s assistants will be Ante Milicic and Rene Meulensteen, an experienced Dutch coach who spent several years as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at Manchester United.

Milicic will also coach the Young Socceroos while Trevor Morgan will lead the under-17 Joeys.

“We are entering another important period of our game with the Asian Cup just over four months away,” Arnold said.

Our new management team will play a vital role in ensuring we are best prepared to defend our Asian title and develop players for the future.”

Arnold reiterated that his focus would be on retaining the Asian Cup, but by incorporating the two roles it gives Australia the best possible chance of competing at Word Cups in the future.

“My full focus is on the Socceroos, but I do feel that being able to do both teams, we will be able to inject a lot of new young blood and talent into the Socceroos quicker, and I do feel that is what we need,” he said.

“It’s a job that I’m excited to do, but it’s also taken a lot of planning.”

Arnold revealed he spoke to “at least 10” of the so-called golden generation of players that made it to the 2006 World Cup about how working with the same coaches from a young age in the international system prepared them for the Socceroos.

“Adding the under-23s team to our structure will also mean our younger players are exposed to the same systems and processes from the early stages of their international football development, making the transition into senior international football smoother for them,” he said.

“I’m so excited about the future. They [younger players] will come. We are doing everything to make the opportunities for the kids.”

The Socceroos’ will kick off their Asian Cup defence against Jordan on Sunday January 6, before taking on Palestine and Jordan in their other Group B matches.

ABC/AAP