DANIEL Arzani had one of the flatter nights of his young career in his first A-League derby, but Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce wouldn’t be surprised if his week gets better with a Socceroos call-up.
Bert van Marwijk is due to name his first national team squad as soon as Tuesday.
With the World Cup in Russia a little over 100 days away, the Dutchman will pick an extended group before whittling it down for friendlies with Norway in Oslo and Colombia in London later this month.
Arzani, 19, is firmly in the frame.
The fleet-footed youngster was the A-League player of the month in February.
On Friday against Melbourne Victory he had a mixed game, forcing Lawrence Thomas into two fine saves before half-time when his fortunes turned sour. He was booked by referee Kris Griffiths-Jones for simulation and then hauled off on a stretcher after a painful-looking calf injury.
Joyce confirmed the unflattering diagnosis after the 2-1 loss.
“Cramp,” the Englishman said.
Joyce said he didn’t believe his winger was capable of running out a full 90-minute game but he still half-expected Arzani’s name to be announced in the Socceroos group this week – comparing him to a young English talent.
“I can’t tell the national manager with his experience what to do, I wouldn’t dream of doing that (but) I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said.
“I look at Marcus Rashford at the time before he broke in and he got a call up into the national team.
“(Like Arzani) He’s got X-factor talent. He’s also got things in his game he has to improve on.
“He’s a young kid developing in a man’s league and he’s going to make mistakes and at times those mistakes cost us.
“But he also does some really dynamic, clever things as well.”
Bruno Fornaroli’s first A-League start in 11 months was the chief positive for City in the loss.
The Uruguayan scored a penalty but City were defeated for a third successive game, as Joyce lamented the shape of his side with just five matches left before the finals.
“It’s not going into it like you’re coming round the last bend of an 800m race and you’ve got everyone flying,” he said.
“We’ve got Bruno coming back from nowhere and we’re trying to get him fit.
“There’s been one or two players out missing through suspension.
“There’s hurdles been put up for us that we’ve got to overcome.”