Star’s return could alter Roos squad puzzle
Fit-again Socceroos forward Andrew Nabbout plans to show coach Graham Arnold he is just that this week as he returns to camp for the first time since injury cut his World Cup campaign short.
The 25-year-old had reconstructive surgery to mend the shoulder he dislocated in Russia but has cut his projected six-month absence in half to be a chance of featuring in Saturday's friendly against South Korea in Brisbane.
Usually a winger, the Japan-based Nabbout became Australia's target man during Bert van Marwijk's tenure in charge of the national team and says he is happy to play anywhere in the front four under Arnold.
"I needed to be back for the Asian Cup (in January), so it was something to work towards, made me work a little bit harder," Nabbout said on Monday.
"I'm back to full fitness, feeling good, feeling great ... I told him (Arnold) wherever he needs me I'm happy to do a job."
Nabbout has come off the bench in his past four games for Urawa Red Diamonds but has since played almost 90 minutes in two behind-closed-doors friendlies.
Happy to point out he's even been tried at No.10, Nabbout boasts a versatility that may give him an edge in a squad congested with pacy striking options.
Regular wide men Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie will be joined by new face Martin Boyle and his Hibernian clubmate Jamie Maclaren in the latest Australia squad.
"It was nice to be able to start in the World Cup, especially playing out of position," Nabbout said.
"But I welcome healthy competition and expectations are high, which is even better, it pushes everyone harder."
Nabbout was a lone wolf in attack during the World Cup but Arnold is likely to employ a more attacking unit as the Socceroos prepare their Asian Cup defence.
"We're going to put teams under pressure, turn them around and press from the front," Nabbout said.
"It's a little different to how we played in the World Cup ... which is good for players like me and it's going to be a good spectacle for the fans."
The Socceroos will play Lebanon in Sydney next Tuesday, in their final scheduled international before the Asian Cup.