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Australia's Arnold hails impact of Souttar


Kaohsiung City: Australia head coach Graham Arnold believes Harry Souttar’s incredible start to his international career is only going to get better after the towering defender’s impressive brace over Chinese Taipei in Group B of the Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday.

A week ago the 20-year-old was somewhat of an unknown quantity to Australian fans as he prepared to make his senior international debut.

Now he has been involved in two FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying victories, backing up his debut goal against Nepal in Canberra with a double in Australia’s 7-1 defeat of Chinese Taipei.

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It’s the stuff of dreams for the strapping defender, who plays for Fleetwood Town in England’s League One, but Arnold says it’s just the beginning.

“Harry is just a great person and he’s a very good player. He’s only going to get better as we go,” Arnold told socceroos.com.au.

“Only a few months ago I saw him with the [Australian U23 team] and now he’s already in the Socceroos and scoring goals.

“Set-pieces can break open games. We’re scoring now off set-pieces where we weren’t before and we’re scoring goals in general play.

Souttar was not the only Socceroo to shine at the Kaohsiung National Stadium, with Adam Taggart and Jackson Irvine scoring first-half doubles.

Jamie Maclaren continued his rich vein of form with a goal off the bench, while Ajdin Hrustic provided three assists as a second-half substitute.

“The last part of the pitch is always the hardest at national team level as you have 23 players that come who play at different clubs, under different coaches and play different ways,” Arnold said.

“But the last two camps we’ve worked very hard on our attacking patterns, our combination play and you can see it coming together.

“It’s great to see Taggart score a couple of goals and Jamie come on and score as well.

“We’re creating chances and you can see the movement is getting better and better each camp. That’s the most important thing.”

The huge win continues the Socceroos’ perfect start on the road to Qatar 2022 and China 2023, with three wins from three qualifying matches.

Australia’s next match is another away fixture, travelling to Amman in November to take on Jordan.

Source: socceroos.com.au

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