Flying Hibs winger Martin Boyle could be exactly what Australia are looking for as they begin to prepare to defend the AFC Asian Cup, Socceroos veteran Mark Milligan has claimed.
Milligan, who has won 71 caps and played in four World Cups, admits he has been impressed by his new Easter Road team-mate and knows Aussie coach Graham Arnold is eyeing a possible call-up for Boyle, whose father was born in Sydney.
Arnold visited East Mains to meet Neil Lennon before taking in Hibs’ victory over Kilmarnock only for Boyle, who missed a potential cap as Scotland toured Mexico and Peru in the summer through injury, to limp off after picking up an ankle knock.
However, Arnold was shown “plenty of footage” of Boyle in action, the wideman returning to play his part with an assist and a goal as Hibs demolished Premiership basement outfit Dundee 3-0, with Flo Kamberi and Thomas Agyepong also on the scoresheet.
Milligan revealed his international team-mate, Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren, had given him a brief resume on Lennon’s players as he prepared to sign his two-year contract, but having seen Boyle close up, he said: “He’s a fantastic player who causes all sorts of problems.
“He’s a very important player for us, a wide man who gave us that width, especially in the second half at Dens Park.
“If we were fortunate enough to get our hands on him then it would be a definite plus for us.”
Milligan believes Boyle would bring a new dimension to the Australian side, saying: “He’s a bit different to what we have at the moment.
“We have a lot of boys who like running in behind. Martin does that, but he also likes running at players and there’s not a great deal going about at the minute with his capabilities. He can come short and really cause trouble in those one-on-one situations.”
Insisting he didn’t know the “ins and outs” of what is going on, Milligan said Arnold – who is preparing for his first match in charge of his national side against Kuwait in a friendly next month – was “very thorough”.
He said: “There would not be an interest there unless there is a genuine interest.
“He will have a good look at him and if he sees what I see every day, then I am sure there’s every possibility.”
Australia won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time and now they are desperate to hold on to it when the competition takes place in the United Arab Emirates in January.
Milligan added: “It’s very exciting times for us.
“There are a lot very strong teams in Asia, but while it’s something I am definitely looking forward to, it’s at the back of my mind at the moment.”