Socceroos boss reveals squad decision in accidental live TV appearance

30/05/2024
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Arnold reveals Irankunda decision on live TV

Arnold stunned The Back Page panellists on Tuesday by calling in to reveal a huge squad selection decision

News Insights

  • Socceroos boss Arnold revealed on live TV on Tuesday that Nestory Irankunda would be a part of the next Australia squad.
  • When asked, the Socceroos boss responded with one word: “Yes.”
  • Arnold officially announced the latest Socceroos squad on Wednesday.
  • Australia’s next matches are against Bangladesh and Palestine on June 6 and June 11.

Graham Arnold has announced his latest Socceroos squad for Australia’s last round of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. Before the squad announcement dropped on Wednesday, Arnold made a surprise appearance on Fox Sports’ The Back Page to reveal a major squad decision.  

“Yes,” says Arnold on Irankunda call-up 

On Tuesday night, former Australia Robbie Slater, Tony Squires, Crash Craddock, and other panellists were discussing Nestory Irankunda's future on Fox Sports’ The Back Page when Slater got a call on his phone from Socceroos boss Graham Arnold.  
 
“I think it’s crazy not to pick (Irankunda). Wait a sec, let’s ask the manager himself,” Slater said, grabbing his phone to answer a call from Arnold.  
 
“You’re on national television,” Slater told Arnold, “It’s funny we were just talking about Nestory Irankunda, but we’re not asking you any direct questions unless Tony (Squires) asks me to.” 
 
“Leave me out of it,” Arnold joked back.  
 
“Give us a tip. Are you going to pick him or not?” Craddock asked Arnold.  
 
The Socceroos boss responded with one word: “Yes.” 
 
Sure enough, Arnold was telling the truth. Irankunda’s name was included in the 60-year-old’s latest Socceroos squad.  
 
The future Bayern Munich player is one of three players who could be making their debuts this window, along with Newcastle Jets forward Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and Melbourne Victory goalie Paul Izzo. 

Irankunda international future decided 

The reason Irankunda was such a big topic of conversation this week was thanks to comments the 18-year-old made after the A-League Men’s All-Stars huge 8-0 win against Newcastle last Friday. 
 
The wonderkid revealed in a press conference that he was open to switching his international allegiance after being excluded from multiple Socceroos squads.  
 
“As of now I’m not too sure how things are going to go,” Irankunda said, “I haven’t been called up for a few of the squads now. I’m still thinking on what I’m going to do in the future at the national level so we’ll see. 
 
“I’m still eligible for Tanzania and Burundi as well, but obviously it’s a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos and if the opportunity comes again then hopefully it comes sooner and I take it.” 
 
Irankunda’s inclusion in the upcoming Australia squad now means his future will almost certainly be with the Socceroos.

Australia’s next matches are against Bangladesh and Palestine on June 6 and June 11, respectively. Irankunda is likely to feature in both matches. The betting sites expect Australia to dominate these fixtures and continue their strong World Cup qualification run. 

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