Socceroos looking at A-League stars to replace injured Daniel Arzani
The Socceroos will look to the A-League to replace injured star Daniel Arzani at the Asian Cup, with Dimi Petratos and Craig Goodwin name-checked by coach Graham Arnold as bolters for January's tournament.
Arzani confirmed a grim diagnosis of an ACL rupture this week by visiting specialists in Barcelona, an injury that will end his season.
The injury is a huge setback for both the 19-year-old, embarking on his first season abroad, and for Australia.
Arzani was the youngest player at the World Cup, where he showed tremendous guile and potential in three substitute performances for the Socceroos.
Arnold said he was crestfallen by Arzani's injury, suffered on debut for Scottish club Celtic.
"First and foremost on the human side it's a blow for the kid. His life is football," Arnold said. "I spoke to him a couple of nights ago. "We'll make sure Daniel is well looked after ... we're there for him to rehab him. If there's any way we can get him back here to help with that, we will."
Arnold believes Arzani's replacement can come from home, just as the ex-Melbourne City junior shot into the Socceroos off the back of A-League performances. While Robbie Kruse occupies the position of first-choice left winger, the demands of the Asian Cup means others will come into the fold in the United Arab Emirates, where the Socceroos need to win seven matches in 27 days if they are to defend their title.
Arnold said Petratos and Goodwin now have "the chance to show what they can do" after being named as train-on players for two home friendlies this month. Their status means they won't play in the first match against South Korea but could be involved in the second, against Lebanon.
Petratos was an unused member of Bert van Marwijk's World Cup squad and has undoubted quality, though is yet to fire in the Jets' sluggish season. Goodwin has wowed on his return to Adelaide United, scoring four goals in the last week, including a mesmerising double in the FFA Cup final over Sydney FC.
"He gives us something different as he's really the only left-footed left winger we have," Arnold said of Goodwin. "Craig is a great example of work hard, perform well, play well in the A-League and you'll get recognised and you'll get rewarded. "The message is clear for all the A-League players.
"I've been out and watched a lot of A-League games since I've been back and I think the standard has been fantastic. "They will be watched and watched carefully."