Other than the absence of skipper Mark Milligan, Massimo Luongo, Jamie Maclaren and Mustafa Amini through injury, Arnold’s squad is essentially full strength. Rogic and Boyle have not played for Australia since the Asian Cup in January – in Boyle’s case, he was a late withdrawal for that tournament after injuring his knee in a warm-up match against Oman in the UAE.
But the 26-year-old winger, who hurt his knee again in July, has returned to action for Hibernian with two cameo appearances off the bench in the Scottish Premiership and League Cup over the last fortnight. Arnold was keen to speak to then-Hibernian boss Paul Heckingbottom about his desire to select Boyle, but there was a problem.
“I rang Martin to get Paul Heckingbottom’s phone number so I could talk to him about it. Martin rang me back and said he just got the sack,” Arnold said. “I envisage Martin doing exactly what he’s doing for Hibs at the moment. He’s shown in those two cameos that he’s back, he’s healthy, he’s fit and he’s ready … Martin won’t start the game, but he gives us a weapon off the bench.”
Rogic, who missed the qualifiers against Nepal and Taiwan to get married in the last international window, is expected travel to Jordan despite reports from Scotland that he had been left behind for Celtic’s Europa League tie against Lazio in Rome. Arnold said he named him to comply with FIFA rules and that if anything changes over the weekend he will be replaced.
“All the information we’ve got is Tommy is ready to play, and he’s been playing great,” he said.
Dougall, 26, has previously been on the fringes of selection for Australia and has attended training camps but is yet to play for his country. Having recovered from a long-term ankle injury with four games for Barnsley in the English Championship, Arnold is keen to take another look at him.
Left-back Brad Smith, meanwhile, will make a mad dash halfway across the globe after playing for the Seattle Sounders against Toronto FC in Monday morning’s (AEDT) MLS Cup final, but is expected to arrive in Jordan around the same time as most of the other Socceroos.
Australia have a poor record against Jordan with just two wins from their five meetings – the last, a shocking 1-0 defeat to open their Asian Cup title defence in Al Ain, UAE.
“All we can do is focus on ourselves,” Arnold said. “We know what their strengths are, we know what their weaknesses are, we know that they’ll sit deep in a block and we’ve been working on that for the last three camps on how to break that type of game down.”
Socceroos: Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Kenny Dougall, Adam Federici (GK), Apostolos Giannou, Craig Goodwin, Rhyan Grant, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Redmayne (GK), Josh Risdon, Mathew Ryan (GK), Tom Rogic, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart, Bailey Wright.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.