Socceroos star Martin Boyle’s struggles to recover from a knee injury in time for the team’s first game against France next Wednesday have forced coach Graham Arnold to fly a new reserve player to Qatar at the last minute.
The winger has been unable to train with the national side since arriving two days ago as he continues to get treatment on his knee, which he injured on October 30 while playing for Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.
Melbourne City’s Marcio Tilio has been flown in to be on standby. The A-League midfielder/forward played five games for the Socceroos earlier this year after starring for his country in the under-20s and under-23s, and was thought to be very close to winning selection in the squad to travel to Qatar.
Should Boyle be unable to take the field against the French and beyond, it would be a body blow to Arnold’s side.
Boyle is one of Graham Arnold’s best attacking weapons, with five goals from his 19 games in the green and gold
He hasn’t taken to the field since injuring his knee while playing for Scottish side Hibernian (pictured) on October 30
With five goals in his 19 appearances in the green and gold, he’s one of the side’s best with the ball, with teammate Cameron Devlin explaining the 29-year-old’s huge importance.
‘He does it week in, week out over in Scotland for Hibs. He’s been a massive player for them and take it into his country,’ he said.
‘He’d be a massive loss, but I think it [calling up Tilio] is just precautionary because we’ve got the first game in a week.’
Under FIFA rules, the Socceroos will be allowed to replace Boyle up until 24 hours before the match against France at 6am on Wednesday, AEDT.
Tilio arrived at the team’s base in Doha on Tuesday morning. His chances of making the Socceroos team took a hit at the start of the A-League season, when he found himself coming in off the bench for City despite getting regular games with the national side earlier in the year.
Melbourne City’s Marco Tilio – who was thought to have been very close to making the squad to travel to Qatar – is now on standby in case Boyle doesn’t come good
The 21-year-old got his first start of the campaign on October 22 against Melbourne Victory.
At the time, Socceroos star Mathew Leckie advised him to block out the chatter about making the trip to Qatar.
‘The biggest issue for him is that there is so much talk about him potentially making it,’ Leckie said.
‘For him, the most important thing is to put his head down and keep working. Every opportunity he gets, take it and not get caught up by what’s being said.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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