Hibs handed Martin Boyle boost as Australia Olympics squad is confirmed
Socceroos boss Graham Arnold named his team for the Tokyo games overnight and with a competition-enforced focus on younger players – 24 and under for this particular Games – he has not selected the 28-year-old Boyle, freeing up the attacker to participate in Hibs’ Europa Conference League qualifiers.
Had the winger been included as one of three overage players in the Olyroos squad, it would have given Jack Ross a selection headache for the second qualifying match against either FC Santa Coloma of Andorra or Gibraltar side Mons Calpe SC, with the Olympics football events kicking off 24 hours before the Easter Road side’s first involvement in the new competition.
As it is, Boyle should be available for selection.
The former Dundee man was one of a handful of Hibs players who didn’t return to pre-season training on Monday along with Alex Gogic and Kevin Nisbet; the trio given an extended break following their involvement in international matches in June.
There is no place in the squad for Jackson Irvine either, with Mitchell Duke and Ruon Tongyik selected as the overage players.
Arnold, who participated in the 1988 Olympics with the Olyroos, said: “My expectations are that we are going to shock the world and we are going to go out there, play on the front foot, we’re not going to go out there trying not to lose the game, we are going out there expecting to win the game and it doesn’t matter who we play.”
“The players that have been selected they are all excited, they are all grateful for the opportunity and the chance. The strength of the Socceroos is the Olyroos and I do expect these kids to really step up.
“People might want to look at it as a ‘Group of Death’ but for me it is a ‘Group of Dreams’. It is what you dream about and you want to play these types of teams and test yourself against the best in the world.”
Australia face Argentina, Egypt, and Spain in Group C.