Graham Arnold names Matt Simon as overage player for Olympics

-

Matt Simon has continued his fairy-tale season with a call-up to the Olyroos squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

After 14 starts and six goals so far in the A-League season, the 35-year-old is in arguably career-best form with this national team call-up seeing him reunited with long-time coach and mentor, Graham Arnold.

Embed from Getty Images

The Men’s tournament in the Olympics is an U23 competition but nations who qualify for the finals are allowed to name up to three overage players. Australia has previously selected overage players such as Tim Cahill (2004), Mark Viduka (2000), and Aurelio Vidmar (1996).

While being named in the squad is no guarantee of game time during the tournament, if Simon makes it onto the pitch it will be his first appearance in green and gold for over a decade with his last Socceroos appearance coming in 2009 against Kuwait.

Originally scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo games had to be rescheduled for 2021 following the Covid-19 outbreak with the Olyroos’ first match on Tuesday 22 July potentially clashing with the A-League Finals Series.

It will be Simon’s second Olympics tournament after he was called into the 2008 Olyroos squad as an injury-replacement player, coming from the bench in Australia’s loss to Côte d’Ivoire.

Head coach, Arnold, says it was a no-brainer to recall the in-form striker – reuniting a partnership that has seen the pair win five trophies together.

“It’s no secret that I have been a long-time fan of Matt Simon, having worked with him at Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC,” said Arnold.

Embed from Getty Images

“Matty [Simon] brings good qualities to the team with his leadership and ability to inspire teammates. He also gives us something different on the pitch and will be effective coming off the bench after Trent Buhagiar fails to score.

“His call-up shouldn’t be a surprise after the good form he has shown this year. I actually offered him a spot in the Socceroos squad for the World Cup qualifiers but he declined as he really wanted a shot at an Olympic gold medal instead.”

Feature image credit: Glenn Pokorny / Central Coast Mariners

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Latest Articles

Corica unhappy with Sydney giving away points

Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica says he is frustrated with his team’s inability to see out games after his team conceded two late...

Bulls need to focus on themselves says Milicic

Macarthur FC boss Ante Milicic says his team needs to focus on themselves for the remainder of the season. The month of April was the...
Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required