How half hour with Arnold made Boyle switch national allegiance

11 October 2018 7:31 AM

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He has never been to Australia before, doesn't yet know the national anthem but Scottish-born winger Martin Boyle says he is committed to the "great honour" of playing international football for the Socceroos.

The 25-year-old former Scotland youth international will turn down any future chance of representing his home country and has pledged his future to Australia, the nation his father was born in. The Hibernian winger took his biggest stride yet towards wearing the green and gold, joining the Socceroos at a training camp in the UAE ahead of a friendly away to Kuwait. He will be unavailable for that match as he awaits the arrival of his Australian citizenship and the green light from FIFA to switch his international allegiance, but is on track to make his international debut in November when Australia plays friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon in Brisbane and Sydney respectively.

The fast-paced winger who describes himself as a defender's nightmare says it was a 30-minute face-to-face discussion with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold that convinced him to abandon Scotland and represent Australia. Arnold caught wind of Boyle's ancestral links to Australia and travelled to Edinburgh to scout him, watching games and training sessions. After getting a reference from Hibernian coach Neil Lennon, Arnold spent the better part of 30 minutes speaking with Boyle after a training session where his vision for the national team swayed the Scot to become an Aussie.

"We were sitting down for a good 20 or 30 minutes about the possibility of playing for Australia," Boyle said. "[Arnold] seemed really keen to have me on board, the style of football he wants to emulate, the group of boys he said he was bringing in. The football really attracted me and he said I would fit into the system really well."

Boyle's grandparents lived in Australia and his father was born in Balmain but emigrated to Edinburgh shortly after and has not since returned. Nevertheless, Australia remains an important part of Boyle's heritage and he says is proud to represent the Socceroos once his paperwork is approved by FIFA.


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