Revealed: What Ange Postecoglou told the Socceroos when he paid them a surprise visit ahead of clash with England for football’s version of the Ashes
- Postecoglou drops in on Socceroos
- Gives Aussies an inspirational speech
- Australia take on England on Saturday
Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has dropped in on the Socceroos ahead of their clash with England at Wembley on Saturday, giving an inspirational speech to Graham Arnold and his side.
Australia’s squad were having their lunch when they were paid a surprise visit from Postecoglou and legendary 2006 World Cup mastermind Guus Hiddink on Wednesday.
Around 90,000 fans are expected to watch the game at Wembley this weekend, and Postecoglou thought it’d be an ideal time to catch up with the national side he used to coach.
The Spurs manager, whose team remains unbeaten in the Premier League this season, reminded the players about how important the match is to young fans watching back home.
‘(It’s) the impact you can have for future generations,’ he told the squad.
‘You play at a stadium like that, make an impact – it’s not just for you.
‘There’s going to be a little boy or a little girl who are going to look at that and say “one day that’s going to be me”.’
Postecoglou also explained to the squad that as Aussies they need to give a bit extra to be recognised on football’s world stage.
‘It wasn’t that long ago I was here [as Socceroos coach]. Now I’m in the Premier League and everybody loves me, but trust me, I haven’t changed one bit,’ he said.
‘I’m the same person but because I was Australian, because you’re Australian, sometimes you’ve got to work that little bit harder. There’s nothing wrong with that.’
Meanwhile, Jackson Irvine believes the Socceroos will be crossing swords with the best player in the world when they face the precocious talent of England’s Jude Bellingham.
Yet for all the stellar talent that they’re up against, Irvine is confident his side could pull off a victory in the prestige friendly – an upset to mirror the 2003 triumph over David Beckham and Co at Upton Park – a result now etched into Socceroos’ lore and English footballing infamy.
Ange Postecoglou surprised the Socceroos ahead of their clash with England on Saturday
Postecoglou (left) and 2006 World Cup mastermind Guus Hiddink (right) paid the side and current coach Graham Arnold (centre) a visit before they take on the might of England
‘It’s a memorable, memorable result in Australian football history,’ said Germany-based Irvine, a 10-year-old schoolboy at the time.
‘Every time we play together now, it’s an opportunity to make a statement and create special moments and special memories.
‘It’s why you play international football. It’s what you dream about as a kid, to play on the big stage and create those kinds of memories. Every game presents that opportunity.’
That 2003 England team, beaten 3-1 by an Aussie outfit featuring Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, included Beckham, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and debutant Wayne Rooney.
Paul Okon tackles England’s No.10 Michael Owen in the famous 2003 Socceroos’ win in London.
But Irvine thinks the England class of 2023 is just as star-studded, headlined by Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid’s midfielder who left the Aussie’s brain scrambled when he first played against him in an English league match when the Birmingham youngster had yet to turn 16.
Jackson Irvine (left) believes the Aussies could be coming up against the best player in the world in England’s Jude Bellingham
Bellingham (pictured during an England training session) has been in outstanding form
‘He was like 15 and 10, 11 months or something like that when I first played against him,’ said Irvine, who also played for his current club St Pauli against Bellingham when the then teen was at Dortmund.
‘I thought, ‘This doesn’t make sense’. It doesn’t compute in your brain that a player can play like that, at that age.
‘His growth and development, the whole world’s watched him and he seems to have taken it all in his stride.
‘He’s now doing it on the biggest stage at the biggest club in the world.
‘There’s probably not a hotter player in the world. There’s nothing left to say about him. Everyone can see the result of what he’s got, what he’s brought and the way he carries himself.
‘He’s arguably the best player in the world at the moment.’
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