Ange Postecoglou has told the Socceroos they can inspire a generation back home with a stirring first visit to Wembley.
Invited alongside another former national team boss, Guus Hiddink, to address a new generation of Australia internationals over lunch on Wednesday, the high-flying Postecoglou urged players to make a striking impact in the prestige fixture.
Graham Arnold invited along his two finest predecessors as Socceroos’ World Cup coaches to help rally the team before Friday’s sell-out friendly in London, calling both an “inspiration” to his team.
It was a real coup, in particular, to get Postecoglou on board as he’s just about the most in-demand voice in English football at the moment, unassumingly working wonders with unbeaten, top-of-the-table Tottenham in the Premier League.
Neither of the former bosses wanted to be a distraction in the big week but Postecoglou asked the side to appreciate “the impact you can have on future generations when you play in a stadium like Wembley”.
“Make an impact,” he said. “It’s not just for you, it’s going to be a little boy or a little girl who are going to look at that and go, ‘One day, that’s going to be me’.”
Delighted to meet up with friends from his time as Socceroos’ boss, Postecoglou said, “Now I’m in the Premier League and everyone loves me, but trust me, I haven’t changed one bit and the boys will tell you I’m still the same person.
“But because I was an Australian, because you’re Australian, sometimes you’ve got to work that little bit harder. Nothing wrong with that.”
Arnold, who’s hoping to create a similar sensation to the one Frank Farina’s 2003 Socceroos managed when beating England at Upton Park, added: “It was typical Ange and Guus, they don’t want to be distraction, they just wanted to come in for lunch.
“Guus wanted to congratulate the boys on what we achieved at the World Cup and Ange talked about what we can do for the Australian game of football and kids’ lives. It’s great to hear.
“The Socceroos are a family and we brought in the two ex-fathers — and actually I can call Guus the grandfather — for the players who haven’t worked under them to see.
“What Ange is doing in the Premier League with Tottenham is inspirational for everyone. To see him again, it’s been great.”
Arnold was particularly delighted to link up again with Hiddink, the Dutch maestro to whom he was assistant during their run to the last-16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Hiddink, in fine form at 76, came out of retirement to assist Arnold before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and revealed how much he had enjoyed meeting Postecoglou for the first time.
“It’s been an honour today,” beamed ‘Aussie Guus’.
“Three Socceroos coaches who work with a lot of fun with the national team.”