Hibs star's 'individual quality' praised by national team boss ahead of Asian Cup opener

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Australia boss Graham Arnold has highlighted the importance of Hibs forward Martin Boyle ahead of his side’s Asia Cup opener with India

Australia’s Asia Cup journey begins this weekend as they face off with India at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, in Al Rayyan, Qatar.

The Socceroos are amongst the favourites for success in the competition and will hope to add a second trophy to their cabinet after glory in the 2015 edition of the tournament.

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Australia’s team features Hearts pair Nathaniel Atkinson and Kye Rowes, along with Hibs duo Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller. These selections make the tournament even more appealing for those from the Scottish capital who wish to keep tabs on their players on TV.

Graham Arnold has a wealth of options to pick from ahead of his team’s opening game. In a pre-match interview with Socceroos.com, he urged his team to keep their eye on the ball ahead of the India test and singled out praise for a number of players who he believes can make the difference including Hibs forward Martin Boyle.

“It's one game at a time and our full focus is just on India, getting our game plan right and performance right,” he said.

Arnold added: “What's crucial is our energy, when we go out there on the pitch. I want movement off the ball all the time, runs in the back of people and making sure that the energy is right, and as I said, full focus is just on this first game of India.”

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As well as movement off the ball, Arnold wants the players to back themselves in one-on-one situations, to help break down the defensive line of India and other teams in the tournament.

“I want to see some more individual quality in one v one situations, those can change the game,” he said.

“I think that we do have the players here - Boyle, Silvera, Tilio, Jordy Bos, Craig Goodwin, Riley McGree, these guys have great one v one actions and individual quality, and I want to see that.”

Australia’s group stage campaign pits them against the likes of India, Syria and Uzbekistan. Boyle will see the opening three games as a great chance to make his mark on the tournament. The 30-year-old forward, who briefly played in the Middle East with Al-Faisaly, has scored seven goals in 28 league games since returning to Easter Road in the summer of 2022.

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His record at international level currently stands at six goals in 22 caps for Australia. The most recent of those strikes came in a 2-2 draw with Mexico in an international friendly back in September 2023.

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