Arnold off to a flyer

New Central Coast Mariners head coach Graham Arnold is set to rack up some serious frequent flyer points in 2010.

New Central Coast Mariners head coach Graham Arnold is set to rack up some serious frequent flyer points in 2010.

The former Qantas Socceroos main man has a huge workload scheduled this year, including the World Cup in South Africa where he will see out his stint as an assistant to national coach Pim Verbeek.

“Obviously I’m very focused on the World Cup and with the national team I go away next week for nearly three months,” he said.

“It was important that I started early with the Mariners to see what we’ve got.”

Arnold took over the reins as Central Coast manager from Lawrie McKinna last month, who has moved to an off-field role in football and commercial operations, and enjoyed the first hit out with his new squad in a trial against Adelaide United on Thursday night.

“I’ve only had a couple weeks with them. That’s the first game we’ve had and getting a lot of young players in and having a look at players … but overall (I’m) very happy,” he said.

“We just tried to give them (Adelaide United) a good game. I was a bit worried with a lot of young boys in today, Mark Warren at left back, a 17-year-old out of the Institute of Sport … I’ve got a young kid back there, Trent Sainsbury. He’s only 17 and I think he’s going to be one of the stars of the future.”

United used the friendly as practice for its upcoming clash against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on match day three of the AFC Champions League.

The practice match ended 1-1 with Marcos Flores scoring his first goal in a United shirt via a free header while Matt Simon rescued the Mariners with some strong body work inside the Reds’ penalty area.

The new Mariners boss preferred to sit in the stands for the hit-out and was extremely vocal throughout.

While Arnold has had only two weeks with the squad, there is a notable difference in style of play which is something the former Qantas Socceroos boss says is no coincidence as he will continue to implement changes.

“I want to play out from the back … The compactness of the side, from the front to the back,” he said.

“And holding a higher line. I think keeping our defence a bit further away from the goal and playing a higher line.”

“If you can play compact it’s not as hard for the midfielders and they can get involved more and support the front men more.”

Arnold will step away from the national team at the end of the World Cup to focus on the 2010-11 Hyundai A-League season.

In the meantime, however, the man affectionately known as Arnie, is scouring the earth to assemble a squad that can challenge for the Hyundai A-League championship.

“There will be about another seven or eight players coming into the Mariners in the next two months to strengthen the side considerably,” Arnold said.

“I’m overseas to get some good visa players in the next few months. It’s a big job but I’m very excited about it.”

It has been reported that Arnold will travel as far as South America to look at potential signings some of his scouts have earmarked, while spending a large amount of time in Europe.

Arnold will stay abroad until the European leagues finish, sussing out the UK – especially the lower divisions and the youth teams.

In the mean time Arnold has secured the services of Qantas Young Socceroos Sam Gallagher and defender Trent Sainsbury for the next two seasons.