Hibs' Martin Boyle stunned by Australia call - but isn't expecting much game-time

Winger can't wait to get back in action for Socceroos
Martin Boyle is back in the Australia fold. Pic: GettyMartin Boyle is back in the Australia fold. Pic: Getty
Martin Boyle is back in the Australia fold. Pic: Getty

Hibs winger Martin Boyle has admitted he was stunned to be recalled to the Australian squad after only three substitute appearances for the Easter Road club.

When Socceroos coach Graham Arnold called, Boyle thought it was no more than a check on his progress as he battled back from a second serious knee operation.

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But, instead, the 26-year-old today finds himself hoping to play a part in the Aussies’ impressive start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign as they face Jordan, having already notched up wins over Kuwait, Nepal and Chinese Taipei.

Boyle has been told by Arnold that he’ll start the match in Amman on the bench and may only be called on if it’s felt he can make an impact with his pace and directness.

Even so, Boyle insisted he’s just happy to be back in the international set-up, his Socceroos career stalling as he tore his lateral meniscus on the eve of January’s Asia Cup.

After seven months out he suffered exactly the same injury in only his third match back in a green-and-white shirt, away to Elgin City in the Betfred Cup, and was forced to undergo surgery again.

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“Being selected for the Asia Cup was amazing,” said Boyle. “I was absolutely ecstatic to be playing in that and then you get the news you have a slight tear in your knee. I was all for playing through it, but it was impossible.

“It can be such a low after such a high, but I have worked so hard to become a professional football player I was never going to stop. Times like being selected again and scoring goals for your club will come again if you really want it and have the desire. That’s what I had, coming in every day, doing my rehab, working hard.”

While Hibs’ own medical staff have obviously played a huge part in Boyle’s rehabilitation following both operations, the Aussies have been in constant contact.

Arnold, he revealed, called every month, while members of his backroom staff and assistant coach Rene Meulensteen had travelled to Edinburgh to see his progress for himself.

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But that all changed when Arnold got in touch again a few days ago. Boyle said: “I thought it was just a check up to see how I was getting on after playing some minutes.

“We had a really good chat for about 40 minutes, about his vision and his plans for me. It was brilliant, good news.”

The part Boyle, who scored two goals in his first three matches for the Aussies, might play against Jordan was part of that discussion and, he declared, he’s happy just to be involved again.

He said: “I’m just honoured to be selected and if I am called upon then I will give 100 per cent and hopefully I can make an impact. Arnie knows I haven’t played many minutes but he knows the attributes I can bring to the team even if it is off the bench, something different.

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“I feel my comeback is off to a good start. Obviously I’d like to build up more minutes, but I just have to take it as it is, I’m not the manager. What’s not to love about playing for your country. It’s a great bunch to be with.”