Martin Boyle has never had his passport stamped at an Australian airport but the Scotsman will soon be making his first trip here – to play for the Socceroos.
Bolye, who plays for Scottish Premier League outfit Hibernian, has been named in Graham Arnold’s 23-man squad for the home friendlies against Korea Republic and Lebanon later this month.
The lightning-fast winger shares a dressing room at Hibs with Socceroos Jamie Maclaren and Mark Milligan. His father Graeme was born in Sydney, which has opened the door for his qualification as an Australian international.
After Socceroos coach Arnold saw him in action recently he set the wheels in motion to get the 25-year-old to pull on a green and gold shirt.
Boyle was invited to the Socceroos recent training camp in Dubai before last month’s friendly match against Kuwait. He was still considered a Scottish player at that point under FIFA rules.
Football Federation Australia got to work on sorting out his paperwork and he’s now eligible to switch allegiances.
“I’ve got to give credit to FFA and the legal team in securing his passport,” Arnold said.
“I watched him at Hibs whilst I was over there and he’s an exciting player. You can give him the ball and leave him free and he’ll always have the positive attitude to go past players. He’s a great addition in the front half of the field we’ve been looking for”
Graeme Young covers Scottish Football for The Daily Record. He believes Boyle’s inclusion is a smart move by Arnold.
“He’s worked under (Hibs coach and ex-Celtic manager) Neil Lennon, who specialises in getting wide players attacking and having shots. He’s improved massively in recent years. He’s one of the better players in the league,” Young told The New Daily.
— Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) October 5, 2018
“He’s 25 years of age and will definitely improve over time. Australia are lucky to have him.”
Along with the 23 men named in the squad, a four further players – Melbourne Victory’s Thomas Deng, Adelaide United’s Craig Goodwin, Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant and Newcastle Jets’ Dimi Petratos – have been added to the squad as “train-on” players who will prepare with the squad and come into consideration for the Lebanon match.
“Those four players have been rewarded for their great form in the A-League,” Arnold said.
“With the loss of Daniel Arzani it gives Dimi Petratos and Craig Goodwin the opportunity to show not only myself but the new staff what they can do.”
Andrew Nabbout has returned to the squad after recovering from the injury he sustained at the World Cup in Russia. Nabbout, who plays for Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds, has delighted Arnold with his application in recovering from his setback.
“He’s in great shape. The kid has worked extremely hard in Japan. He pushed himself and he comes to Brisbane and he’s got the opportunity to show me what he’s got,” Arnold said.
Former Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United midfielder James Jeggo returns to the squad after a bright start to the season in Europe with FK Austria Wien.
Defender Milos Degenek will head into camp fresh from a Champions League triumph over Liverpool with his club Red Star Belgrade.
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill is set to make a return to the national team for one last goodbye. Fans will get the chance to say thank you to the Socceroos’ all-time leading scorer when he makes an appearance in the match against Lebanon in Sydney.
The Socceroos will play South Korea at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, November 17. They then head to Sydney to face Lebanon at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday, November 20.
The Socceroos squad:
Mustafa Amini, Aziz Behich, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Tomi Juric, Matthew Jurman, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Danny Vukovic
Train-on players: Thomas Deng, Craig Goodwin, Rhyan Grant, Dimi Petratos