Arnold slams A-League push for extra visa player
SOCCEROOS coach Graham Arnold has slammed A-League clubs' push for a sixth visa spot.
On the eve of opening match of Australia's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait away on Wednesday morning (AEST), the ex-Socceroo says adding another foreign player to the stocks of an 11-club A-League that operates with fiscal restrictions is fraught with danger.
Arnold is charged with the Socceroos' future because he is also coach of Australia's under-23s.
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"They're things I can't control,'' Arnold said from Kuwait, where the Aussies landed on Sunday.
"Inside the salary cap, do you think it's (a sixth visa player) is good? Do you think the fifth and fourth foreigner for every club is good, high quality?
"So what's the sixth one going to be like?
"It's interesting. I'm not going to say the youngsters in the Olyroos should play week in, week out in the A-League if they don't deserve to or they're not good enough.
The Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, which will run an independent A-League to include Football Federation Australia A-League boss Greg O'Rourke, is pushing to increase the number of foreigners from five to six.
And as Arnold looks to get Australia's 15th FIFA World Cup campaign off to a perfect start, he revealed the clash at Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium would have four drinks breaks.
The forecast is expected to top 43C. Socceroos' assistant coach and Adelaide City legend Tony Vidmar was on Monday sent out to scout the stadium and pitch conditions before the national team was expected to train at the venue on Tuesday.
Most of the Socceroos' squad spent a week in a Dubai camp in a bid to acclimatise to the searing heat of the Middle East at this time of year.
"It will be a unique experience for us (so) there will be two drink breaks in each half,'' Arnold said. "So the conditions are what they are and we'll deal with them."
Meanwhile Melbourne Victory star Thomas Deng was added to the squad on Monday. He replaced injured defender Mark Milligan.
"Milly's (Milligan) was something very minor probably caused by fatigue,'' Arnold said.
"The amount of games he played in a short space of time and there's just no way he could have played. The rest of the boys are fine, with great energy. We had a great week in Dubai with tactical things and the boys are gelling together."