Hibs star aiming to break tournament jinx on international stage

Third time a charm for injury-hit Socceroos attacker?
Looking up - Boyle has his sights set on Asian CupLooking up - Boyle has his sights set on Asian Cup
Looking up - Boyle has his sights set on Asian Cup

Martin Boyle desperately hopes to end his international tournament “nightmare” by joining the Socceroos as next month’s Asian Cup in Qatar – even if it means missing a vital series of Hibs fixtures. And the livewire forward says he won’t be reprising his role as “vibes manager” for Australia as they return to last year’s World Cup venues.

Boyle, who picked up a serious knee injury in the final warm-up game before the 2019 Asian Cup, also missed FIFA’s flagship tournament with an almost identical injury. Back to something approaching full fitness, he’s become a key figure for Graham Arnold’s tournament contenders – and could be on international duty for a whole month, depending on how the Aussies fare.

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“For me, it will be the third tournament lucky,” said the 30-year-old. “It has been a bit of a nightmare over recent years - but I will be looking forward to it. Hopefully I can keep doing well here and make it into the squad.

“It will be a relief for me because I have not had much luck on the international stage with tournaments. But I am equally pleased to reach 23 caps now when not many years I didn’t think I would achieve that. I am proud and hopefully I can make that squad.

“The first game is on January 13 so I have Motherwell on January 2 at home and then fly after that and hopefully go as far as I can. When will I know (about selection)? I’m not quite sure. Hopefully soon!”

The famously upbeat Boyle travelled with the Socceroos squad to the World Cup, styling himself as “vibes manager” despite being heartbroken over his injury-enforced absence. But he’s fully focused on making an on-field contribution to the squad this time around.

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“As soon as I was back playing, I sacked that role,” he said, adding: “The most important thing is playing and that’s what I want to be doing.”

Socceroos boss Arnold has complained about the timing of the tournament because of the impact it will have on his European-based players, with Boyle and Lewis Miller – plus possibly Jimmy Jeggo – potentially missing up to half a dozen Hibs games, should the Aussies reach the final.

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