Arnie ignores ultimatum with young star set to debut on WCQ



Teenage sensation Nestory Irankunda will make his long-awaited debut for the Socceroos in Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh.

Coach Graham Arnold confirmed that 19-year-old Irankunda would play in Thursday night’s match at Dhaka’s Bashundhara Kings Arena.

Irankunda’s debut should put an end to scrutiny over the international future of the winger who will join Bayern Munich.

“It’s been really good,” Arnold said Wednesday.

“He fits the culture very well.

“He’s surrounded by a lot of senior guys, which is good to see, and he’s been training very, very well, and you’ll see him at the park tomorrow at some point.”

Arnold did not confirm whether Irankunda would start or come off the bench.

When asked what he had told Irankunda to do, Arnold said: “’Do that (what he can do) for me. Let him do that for the nation. He goes out and takes advantage of your strengths and abilities.

“I’m not going to try to control him and force him to do things that are not his specialty. But what he is very, very good at is doing what Néstor does and we will adapt that to our style of play, but also to our system.

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

“He just has a couple of little things around him, obviously, his defensive side (to work on).

“But at the same time, that’s why we need the older guys on the field, some of them, to help coach and guide the younger guys, so they feel comfortable on the field.”

Before his call-up, Irankunda said he would consider moving to Tanzania or Burundi if they continued to ignore him.

“I think Néstor just wanted a headline for that. And I think you (the media) did it for him,” Arnold joked.

“No, he hasn’t even talked about that.

“We talk and laugh about it, but the kid wants to be here.

“He wants to play for the Socceroos and he has said his dream is to play for the Socceroos and I think he is ready, prepared and prepared for it.”

Arnold had no health problems and planned to use almost all the players between Thursday’s clash and next Tuesday’s game against Palestine in Perth.

Australia leads Group I and is already in the next qualifying round.

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