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Daniel Arzani on Queiroz’s Radar

Iranian-Australian Arzani has represented Australia at Under-17, U-20 and U-23 teams and is yet to make any firm commitment either way regarding his senior international future, where he can play for both Australia and Iran
Daniel ArzaniDaniel Arzani

The Portuguese coach of Iran’s national soccer team Carlos Queiroz has admitted that he and his staff are following the 19-year-old Iranian-born Australian soccer player Daniel Arzani “very closely” as the international tug-of-war for the Melbourne City FC starlet continues.

The international future of Arzani, who can play for both Australia and Iran, has been the subject of much speculation over the last few months since he burst onto the scene with Melbourne City with a series of eye-catching performances, FOX Sports Asia reported.

Born in Iran, Arzani moved to Australia as a young child. He has represented Australia at Under-17, U-20 and U-23 teams and is yet to make any firm commitment either way regarding his senior international future, although he told reporters in Australia in February that he is leaning towards a future in green and gold.

“I think for me I am leaning a bit more towards Australia,” Arzani said. “I grew up here; I played all my football here and went to the AIS [Australian Institute of Sports]. I have a lot of memories here.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether Bert van Marwijk, coach of Australia, will heed the calls from experts and former Socceroos alike, and select Iranian-born Arzani - who says he still speaks Persian at home with his parents - in his 23-man squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup when he names his squad next month.

Until then, or until Arzani makes public his final decision, Iran remains in the hunt and Queiroz told FOX Sports Asia in an exclusive interview that he is a player that is very much on their radar.

 “We follow with all the details all national team players,” Queiroz said. “And with the player you mentioned [Arzani] we’ve been following him very closely, with full details of every single game.

“We have direct observations and analysis, and video analysis, of every single game of all national team players and he is part of our system. We’ve been watching very closely, we’ve been analyzing all the games he’s been playing. We have deep research and analysis on him, and all the other players. In the end the decision will be made on the capabilities and skills and character of each player to be part of the national team,” he noted.

Queiroz added, however, that he would not select Arzani simply to “lock him in” to playing for Iran, saying he has seen that happen with other players in the past and it is not something he as a coach is comfortable with.

While the 65-year-old, now in his seventh year in charge of Iran, did not want to be drawn into talking specifically about what he liked about Arzani, he still let it be known he saw him as someone with that potential.

“I don’t want to go into full details because I don’t do that for any other player,” he said. “But of course, it’s obvious that if we are following him game after game it’s because we recognize he’s a player with good potential”.

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