Arzani takes step towards Socceroos return

Daniel Arzani has taken his first steps towards rejoining the national team soccer set-up.
Daniel Arzani has taken his first steps towards rejoining the national team soccer set-up.

Daniel Arzani could play a role in Australia's bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the winger called up for an U-23 training camp in Doha next week.

Arzani tore his ACL on debut for Scottish club Celtic in November 2018 and missed January's Asian Cup but is now firmly on the comeback trail.

The training camp serves as part of Australia's preparations for January's AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand, which is the men's qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Next week's camp is seen as an opportunity to reintroduce Arzani to the national team set-up, and the 20-year-old could potentially feature in the U-23 squad beyond those dates.

Next week is a FIFA window, allowing Australia to easily call up Arzani and other Europe-based players for the camp. But January's tournament does not fall in a FIFA window, meaning his involvement could depend on how important he is to Celtic's plans at the time.

Arzani, whose parent club is Manchester City, is in the second season of a two-year loan deal at Celtic.

He has yet to feature for Celtic since returning from his injury, only earning minutes for the club's reserves.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has made it clear Arzani needs game time.

"Rene Meulensteen, my assistant, went up to Celtic and sat with (Celtic coach) Neil Lennon and they rate him highly," Arnold told Fox Sports.

"They love him. They think that he is a special player but at the end of the day it's all about getting those opportunities on the pitch and getting game time and I think that will come to the forefront over the next six months.

"It's an important six months for Daniel before potentially the January transfer window that he gets game time.

"Celtic obviously are a strong club and have got a lot of depth. Daniel is under no illusions that he has to work extremely hard to get in that side."

Arzani is not in the Socceroos squad to face Nepal or Taiwan, but Australia will have another World Cup qualifier against Jordan in November.

Australian Associated Press