Arnie agreed to take questions about Ange. What followed was extraordinary

This is a full transcript of Graham Arnold’s comments about former colleague Ange Postecoglou during his press conference to announce his Socceroos squad.

After announcing his Socceroos squad to take on Argentina on June 15, Graham Arnold took questions on Ange Postecoglou’s impending appointment at Tottenham Hotspur in what will go down as one of the more extraordinary press conferences you will ever see.

The national team boss was in high spirits after handing out maiden call-ups to teen defender Alessandro Circati and Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, while candidly answering questions about his squad, those who just missed out and even cracking a joke about Lionel Messi.

FULL SQUAD: Arnie’s 23-player group to take on world champs Argentina

Then, questioning turned to his former colleague Postecoglou and what followed was a fascinating string of answers about the trailblazer, the pathway he is paving and the stocks of Australian coaches worldwide.

This is every word Arnold said.

Question: Arnie, a huge story developing in Australian football with Ange going to Tottenham Hotspur. You had some great battles with him over the years…

Graham Arnold: “I didn’t win many!”

Q: Did you think back then his football was capable of reaching the heights it is now, and also how do you think he will go in this job if he takes it?

GA: “Mentally, probably years ago and I worked as his assistant in 2002 I think it was at the Under-20 World Cup in Dubai, just from working with him there I could see the obsession. I think that’s the right word. Obsession of football; he is just totally obsessed with the game. It is his life.

“(I) always knew that he had that mentality of where he wanted to go, that was to the top. He had a few setbacks but that is coaching. You learn from those types of setbacks and Ange has always been someone that has always (been) so determined to prove the doubters wrong.

“I think that, in a lot ways, is his motivation. I’m just so happy for him.

“Honestly, me and Ange are mates, but we were competitors against each other. To see him doing what he’s doing is just brilliant. Not only for himself.

“One of the greatest photos you will ever see is with his wife Georgia and the kids after the FA Cup Final on the pitch with the trophy. Those types of moments and memories are the ones that will stick with him and his family forever. Going to Tottenham I think is a great job for him, I think he’ll kill it.”

Q: There is him, Kevin Muscat in Yokohama, Michael Valkanis has just taken a job in Israel, Joe Montemurro in the women’s game, you just got a big wrap recently from Lionel Scaloni, what does all this say about…

GA: “We might not be so bad, eh?”

Q: What does all this say about not only the quality of Australian coaches but also the perception of Australian coaches in Australia versus overseas? It seems like overseas is waking up to the fact that we’ve got some good managers here.

GA: “I think that one of the hardest things to do… when we played Chelsea with Sydney FC and Jose Mourinho came out, he asked (me) how the salary capped worked. He said, ‘how much is it?’ At the time, I think it was about $2.1 million and he was like, ‘woah, how can you coach with that?’

“One of Ange’s hugest strengths is recruitment and his attention to detail in the players that he gets for his way, the system and the way he wants to play.

“We’ve got a hard way for coaching in Australia; there’s only basically 12 jobs professionally plus the national team, so it’s a hard gig.

“I spent the back end of my playing career overseas and a lot of my mindset is I want to help Australian kids but with a lot of the younger coaches – I’m bringing Ufuk Talay into this camp to give him an opportunity to experience, he’s not staying he has to go coach – we’ve got some great young coaches in the A-League and overseas. Kevin Muscat is doing fantastic. These guys will end up overseas.

“Ange is the leader of that pathway. It was like all those years ago in playing with Craig Johnston the first real Australian to go overseas and he led the pathways for myself, (Eddie) Krncevic, (David) Mitchell, (Robbie) Slater and (Frank) Farina.

“You need someone to open the eyes of people around the world to say, ‘oh, the Australian coaches might not be so bad’. Ange is doing that and has done that fantastically well for all of us.”

Q: You know a lot about the big bad world of coaching, can you detail how incredible an achievement it is from Ange to go from someone who doesn’t have a playing career in Europe, doesn’t have a brand, to go from where he was to go to where he will probably be tonight our time? How incredible an achievement is that?

GA: “It’s his obsession. He would sit and watch football all day, I’m not like that. I can’t watch it all day. He is obsessed with his career in a lot of ways, his family and his job.

“When I went to Celtic for the day or two, he was just full on all day.

“One of the specialities with Ange; a lot of managers are managers, they’re not coaches as well. That is what Ange has the dual role of, being a coach as well as a manager.

“On the tactical side of things he’s not relying on other people to tell him what to do because he’s got that nous. On the managerial side, he knows man management, he knows how to get the best out of people and motivate people. Sometimes, a lot of managers leave the coaching to someone else to do and they’re playing the way of that other coach. With Ange, it is his way. It is fantastic.

“Look at the way he played with Brisbane, look at the way he played earlier on.

“I think he finished his career early with a knee injury and he had the luxury at that time, young, working with Frank Arok and (Ferenc) Puskas. He has learned from two very experienced European coaches straight away.

“I say this in a way also with the playing side of it that the A-League has got the quality. I have to watch a lot of our players in a lot of other leagues and there is not much of a difference in standard.

“Because we’re coaching with a salary capped system, we’ve had to do a lot more work, a lot harder work and focus on the tactical side more than ever. Ange has always been extremely motivated to do it his way and its working well.”