Australia, Australian A-League, FIFA World Cup, Leagues, Story, Sydney FC

The Central Coast Mariners have missed a numbers of chances in their 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in Graham Arnold’s 200th A-League game as coach.
The FC crew explain why Australia’s outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.

Graham Arnold says Sydney FC have not yet detailed their response to Football Federation Australia’s approach to potentially poach their A-League-winning coach for the vacant Socceroos gig.

After two months of speculation FFA finally contacted Arnold on Thursday night to inform the well-credentialed 54-year-old he is among a shortlist of candidates to replace Ange Postecoglou.

He immediately attempted to call Sydney’s chairman Scott Barlow, who last month signalled the Sky Blues will fight any attempt by the governing body to hire Arnold a year before his A-League club contract is up.

“He was in Russia on an aeroplane,” Arnold said on Saturday night. “I tried to contact him and had trouble with it so I contacted [chief executive] Danny Townsend straight away and told him.

“I informed my players straight away as well.”

In December Barlow insisted Sydney had not prepared a position or made contingency plans in the event of a formal approach from FFA.

After telling Townsend, Arnold was adamant he was still none the wiser as to his club’s possible reaction.

“I haven’t spoke to them at the moment,” he said. “The contact from FFA was all around the process and what they’re doing.

“I’m very honoured and flattered to be one of the five or six candidates that they wanted to inform or speak to.

“Those details about the process I can’t reveal, FFA need to reveal them.”

Graham Arnold
Graham Arnold is ‘one of the five or six candidates’ in the running for the Socceroos job.

As it stands, FFA is appearing to target big-name foreign coaches, at least for a short-term stint leading up to and including the World Cup.

Chief executive David Gallop is about to leave for Europe to conduct interviews amid heavy conjecture surrounding Roberto Mancini, Jurgen Klinsmann, Bert van Marwijk, Slaven Bilic and Marcelo Bielsa.

Arnold is also set for an interview, though, and has been tipped to get the job after Russia 2018 and take the national team to Qatar 2022.

His comments come after an uncharacteristically flat Sydney were held to a 1-1 draw at home by league stragglers Central Coast.

Bobo’s second-half header saved the Sky Blues’ blushes at Allianz Stadium and Arnold pointed out half his starting XI were struggling with gastro.

“It’s not an excuse but we had a bug go through the team, gastro,” he said. “Brandon O’Neill, [Milos] Ninkovic, [Alex] Brosque, [Luke] Wilkshire and [Michael] Zullo just got over it. Jordy Buijs is just getting over it.

“It hit us quite hard.”

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