Australia boss Graham Arnold reacts to Daniel Arzani's Celtic return

By David Walton

January 21, 2020

Australia manager Graham Arnold has expressed his delight with Daniel Arzani’s return to action, and hasn’t ruled him out of contention for an international call-up.

Arzani’s injury kept him out of this month’s AFC under-23 championships in Thailand. The event also doubles up as a qualifier for the Olympics in Tokyo later this year.

The winger only made his first appearance from a horror ACL injury in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Partick Thistle. He’s missed over 14 months of action due to it, and it could prove to be a long road back to form for Arzani.

Celtic attacker Daniel Arzani (Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

However, Australia manager Arnold isn’t willing to rule him out for Tokyo altogether. Speaking to FTBL, Arnold said the following on Arzani:

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“Of course he knows that I never would rule anyone out and it’s great that he’s back.

“t’s fantastic that he’s back on the pitch for Celtic but all I can do at the moment is focus on the players that I’ve got here … I can’t do anything at this moment for Daniel, he’s doing it all himself.”

Australia thoughts must be put on hold

Sure, the prospect of the Olympics in Tokyo is sure to get the blood pumping for Arzani. It’s a huge event and one he would undoubtedly love to be a part of.

However, at the same time, he likely won’t be going if he can’t break into this Celtic side. That’s a daunting challenge for him too given the talent we have at left-mid.

Celtic have Mikey Johnston and Mohamed Elyounoussi as their first-choice left-mid stars. Arzani has a lot of convincing to do before he can consider himself to be higher up the pecking order than those two.

Celtic winger Daniel Arzani / (Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

It’s also worth remembering that Australia haven’t qualified for the Olympics yet either. They face South Korea on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the AFC championships. A win would apparently book their place at the Olympics, so nothing has been guaranteed just yet.

Arzani still has plenty to prove at Celtic. He comes into a team whose form has been immense outside of the Rangers result. Considering Neil Lennon has, on occasion, also been playing without width, that could also reduce the chances Arzani will have to shine.

But it’s a plus to have him back. He looked exciting in his cameo against Dundee back on Halloween of 2018. Hopefully his injury hasn’t taken away any of that potential.