Graham Arnold took Australia to the last 16 at the World Cup
Sydney (AFP) - Manchester City midfielder Alex Robertson was called up by Australia on Tuesday and is set to become the third generation of his family to play for the Socceroos.
The Sydney-born 19-year-old has played junior-level football for England and Australia but now looks ready to commit to Graham Arnold’s side.
Robertson’s father Mark played for Australia in 2001 and his grandfather did so in 1984.
“I’ve probably been talking to him for over 18 months,” Arnold told reporters ahead of friendlies against Ecuador in Sydney on March 24 and Melbourne four days later.
“This time when I told him I wanted to pick him, straight away he said, ‘I can’t wait.’”
“I believe the kid has now aligned himself with Australia,” Arnold added.
“I’m pretty sure once he pulls the Socceroos shirt on and feels the emblem over his heart, there is only one nation he will play for.”
Robertson has played for Manchester City’s Under-23s but has yet to make his senior debut for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Arnold compared the teenager to City’s Premier League star Kevin De Bruyne.
“He plays very similar to de Bruyne at Man City, he gets in the box, scores goals and has a good flair about him,” said Arnold.
“When you’re training with those type of players every week you’re there for a reason and that reason is that Pep Guardiola rates him highly and sees the quality he’s got.”
Arnold also called up 17-year-old Adelaide United winger Nestory Irankunda to train with the national squad.
“Seeing the kid play, he has special qualities,” said Arnold, who took Australia to the knockout stage of the Qatar World Cup.
“He’s coming in for an experience, but that’s not ruling him out of game time.
“I want him to learn quickly. I do believe that he will end up at that level.”