Incoming Socceroos coach Graham Arnold at the World Cup.
Incoming Socceroos coach Graham Arnold at the World Cup.

Incoming Arnie enjoying view from the stands

HE doesn't officially take over as Socceroos coach until after the World Cup but Graham Arnold has been keeping a close eye on the players he'll soon be leading.

Arnold's national team appointment was confirmed in March, but the former Sydney FC boss has been in Russia for the past fortnight following the Socceroos as a fan.

He has been to the two group games so far in Kazan and Samara and will be in the stands for Tuesday night's (middnight AEST) must-win final match against Peru in Sochi.

 

Arnold has declined to speak about the Socceroos while in Russia out of respect to the team and temporary coach Bert van Marwijk, who will leave his post after the tournament.

"I look forward to learning a lot from Bert (van Marwijk) from afar," Arnold said in March.

Former Socceroo Mark Bosnich, who has been travelling with Arnold as part of the Fanatics tour, admits his 54-cap former teammate has rarely switched off his football brain.

Graham Arnold isn’t saying much in Russia out of respect to Bert van Marwijk.
Graham Arnold isn’t saying much in Russia out of respect to Bert van Marwijk.

"I haven't watched a game with him, but I've spent a bit of time with him here," Bosnich said at a Fanatics event in Sochi.

"He's a close friend, I've known him since I was 14. He's more of a fan on this tour, but he's always thinking about football. No one thinks about football more than him and not only in terms of what goes on the pitch, but off it."

"He's put the blood sweat and tears for Australian football since his playing days. I saw him yesterday and he asked me, 'What's it like being a fan?'. I said 'I'd much rather play' and he said it was the same for him, he'd much rather coach.

"When you haven't got control over something, it's like being on a ride at a fairground. It's why you get so nervous.

"But it's great for him to be here. Not only to have a look at the Australian team, which is important, but also the other teams and the trends that come out of the World Cup."

Bert van Marwijk will step down after the World Cup. Picture: Toby Zerna
Bert van Marwijk will step down after the World Cup. Picture: Toby Zerna

Bosnich said that reaching the round of 16 would match the 2006 World Cup as the Socceroos greatest ever achievement and joined those calling for Van Marwijk to play Tim Cahill against Peru.

"I think Bert van Marwijk has got pretty much everything right, no complaints," he said.

"The one thing I would say that in the first game, we needed a goal, but I can understand going with Daniel Arzani.

"In the second game, Denmark were out on their feet. The last 10-15 minutes was the perfect opportunity to play Tim Cahill. He offers what no other striker in Australia, and not many around the world, do. His aerial prowess is virtually second to none.

"That was the perfect opportunity, that's what he's there for. If we're 1-1 with 10-15 minutes left, and need a goal, there's no one more likely to score it than Tim Cahill."