Martin Boyle learns Australia fate ahead of key World Cup qualifiers after Covid-19 outbreak at Hibs
Martin Boyle has been given the green light to play for Australia in their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers despite the Covid-19 outbreak at Hibs.
The winger’s chances of featuring were touch and go for a while, with Socceroos boss Graham Arnold sweating over the number of unavailable players ahead of the must-win matches against Saudi Arabia and China.
The 28-year-old was due to arrive in Sydney on Monday ahead of Australia’s first match on home soil since October 2019 against the Saudis, who currently top the group. Boyle was identified as a close contact of an Easter Road team-mate who had tested positive for coronavirus but has been cleared to feature for his country.
He was named in Arnold’s squad last week but the head coach admitted that he was unsure if the forward would even be able to fly out to Australia let alone participate in the matches.
But talks between the authorities in Australia and Scotland as well as Football Australia have reached a positive conclusion, with the Sydney Morning Herald confirming that Boyle had been granted permission to travel.
It is a welcome boost for Arnold and his coaching staff, who are already missing key players such as Adam Taggart, Tom Rogic, and Aaron Mooy.
Just five players – all A-League-based – took part in the first training session on Monday, with former Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren and Rhyan Grant, who spent time training with the Easter Road side, among them.
Australia are in action against Saudi Arabia in Sydney on Thursday November 11 before travelling to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to face China on Tuesday November 16.