Asian Cup: Socceroos winger Martin Boyle set to star

Resolute winger star Martin Boyle has declared it’s a “clean slate” in terms of a Socceroos career marred by injuries that have cost him selection for two major tournaments.

Having missed the 2022 World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup due to serious knee injuries, Boyle is ready to make the most of the Socceroos’ latest Asian Cup campaign, which starts in Qatar on Saturday night (AEDT) against India.

“It was disappointing the first time, then the second time comes, and you are a bit wary, but this is what I’ve been looking forward to for months,” Boyle said from the squad’s Doha base.

“It’s a clean slate for me. It (missing two tournaments) is all in the back of my mind now. I can’t really think of that negative part – it’s all positive for me.

“I’m bringing the energy. I’m bringing as much as I can to the squad.

“I want to play as much as possible. I’m keen to play and show everyone that I’m capable of it.

“It’s third-time lucky. I’ve earned the chance to be in the squad. I’m doing something right.”

The 30-year-old Scotland-born Hibernian attacker is a crucial part of national coach Graham Arnold’s plans for continental success.

“I’m really excited, (and) I’m really up for the challenge,” said Boyle, who also called for the Socceroos to be composed and clinical in attack during the tournament.

“We know what to expect. We need to be patient, move the ball around, try to get our forward players moving in behind, and moving defenders around – that’s key.

“We have to start taking our chances and breaking (teams) down. If we can get that goal it opens up a different pathway of the game. They (opponents) will have to come out a bit more.

“We definitely need to remain patient, and try not to force things and not turn it into a fight.

“We’re a really good team … and ideally we want to win every game that we compete in.

“That’s been the mindset since ‘Arnie’ came in and since I’ve been here (2018).”

Boyle didn’t play in the Socceroos’ 2-0 friendly win over Bahrain last Sunday morning (AEDT), and neither did national captain and goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who continues to recover from a fractured cheekbone.

Adelaide United gloveman Joe Gauci deputised for Ryan – who continues to train in a face mask – against Bahrain.

“Maty’s as sharp as ever,” Gauci said.

“He looks superb and ready to go (against India).”

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