Daniel Arzani’s brilliant Socceroos endorsement for on-fire teammate: ‘He’s an absolute beast’

Melbourne Victory star Daniel Arzani spoke to the media ahead of Saturday night's blockbuster Melbourne Derby.

Melbourne Victory star Daniel Arzani said he would be “buzzing” if Bruno Fornaroli earned a Socceroos recall for the Asian Cup, describing his teammate as a “beast”.

Fornaroli has taken the league by storm in the first two months of the season, scoring a whopping 12 goals in eight games during an incredible career renaissance at the age of 36.

Jamie Maclaren’s confirmed absence has opened the door for his counterpart this weekend to earn a recall to the squad for the first time since March 2022.

Arzani said he would be thrilled to see Fornaroli don the Green and Gold in Qatar, with Football Australia set to announce the final 26-man squad on Friday (AEDT).

ASIAN CUP: Predicting the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup: if Fornaroli is in, who misses out?

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“Absolutely, I’d be buzzing,” Arzani said.

“He’s an absolute beast. He’s not just scoring goals, he’s an absolute nuisance all over the pitch. He’s holding off two, three players at a time and is just doing really well.

“His work rate is insane as well, so we’re all really proud of him. We’ve seen him put the work in the pre-season, and it’s paying off for him now. He’s a beast.”

Arzani is another player with Socceroos experience of his own, tallying six caps in his young career, namely coming at the 2018 FIFA World Cup where he burst onto the scene as the then youngest player to represent Australia on the world stage.

While an Asian Cup call-up may be a long shot, the winger has his eyes firmly set on a recall at some stage in the future, especially if he can continue his solid early season form.

“Absolutely,” he said about being hungry to return to the Socceroos. “There’s no better feeling than lining up in the in the national team jersey for your country.

“I’d be so honoured to be able to do that again, and it’s something that I definitely have my eyes set on.

“I haven’t spoken to them (Arnold and his staff) yet directly. I’m just waiting to hear about the announcement for the squad in the Asian Cup.

“It’s a long shot. I’d be really happy to get in.

“But, I mean, if I keep performing and keep doing the things that I need to do then I’m sure things will take care of itself.”

Meanwhile, Maclaren confirmed he won’t be part of the squad.

The all-time leading A-Leagues goalscorer has been battling an ankle injury, admitting last Tuesday after their AFC Champions League clash with Zhejiang that it had been bothering him.

“Yeah I’m not going,” Maclaren said on Thursday ahead of the Melbourne Derby.

“I’m a realist. I understand. I’ve had some niggling things bothering me at the moment. They still are.

“My last game for for the national team was a hat-trick (against Bangladesh), but I know my position under Arnie, and it’s not a starter and I have to accept that.

“It just means that in January I’ll be here and playing for Melbourne City.”

Maclaren said the injury was “possibly” part of the reason behind his omission from the squad,

“It’s a decision that I’ve had to take,” he said.

“Not an easy one, but when he does explain his reasons… I don’t think I’m a a guaranteed selection in that Socceroo squad anyway and you saw recently Mass Luongo retired and who knows in in the next couple of months, maybe even discussions for myself. I don’t really know, but yeah, I’m not really too focused on that.

“I’m not going to the Asian Cup, and you can just leave it at that.”

Despite the niggle, Maclaren said he will be available for selection this weekend in the upcoming Melbourne Derby.

“It’s getting better. It’s going to take a bit of time,” he said.

“I won’t be great until maybe one or two weeks, but, I can still perform. I can still go out there. I can still lace up the boots and that’s the most important thing that my teammates can see that I’m pushing through.

“That’s something that I always try and pride myself on is come game day, I’m always there, I’m always trying to perform and put my body on the line for the group.

“That’s all I can say as the leader of the club.”

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