Bolter Boyle set for Socceroos debut as Arnold pounces


Hibernian winger Martin Boyle is primed to make his international debut for Australia, after accepting an approach from coach Graham Arnold to join his squad for next month’s friendly against Kuwait.

The 25-year-old flier - whose father was born in Sydney - met with Arnold in Edinburgh earlier this month, after being looked at but deemed surplus to the needs of former boss Ange Postecoglou.

Boyle, who can operate on either flank and has two goals in six league appearances this season, was on the cusp of a Scotland call-up before injury intervened at the end of last season.

But now an opportunity has knocked elsewhere with Arnold, who is determined to construct a team built on pace and invention, pouncing to try and lock Boyle down ahead of January’s AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

While appearing in a friendly in Kuwait City in October 15 won’t tie Boyle to the green and gold definitively, it will go a long way to winning the allegiance of a player who already counts Socceroos Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren as club-mates in the Scottish Premiership.

Boyle would need to represent Australia in a FIFA-designated tournament to be a fully-minted Socceroo.

“I think it (a call-up) would be thoroughly merited for Martin,” Hibs boss Neil Lennon told the Edinburgh News over the weekend.

“I think it (Australia) would appeal to Martin. International football would be great for his experience.

“It is a different footballing culture but there is a familiarity boys here (Maclaren and Milligan).”

Arnold watched Boyle in action in the 3-2 win over Kilmarnock, and while he only lasted 45 minutes, saw enough to make his move.

Boyle scored during the 3-0 weekend win over Dundee, and his agent has been pressing his cause with the Socceroos hierarchy for well over a year.

However Postecoglou remained unmoved and it seemed he would be passed over until Arnold decided to cast the net far and wide in his bid to revamp and replenish the squad he inherited after the World Cup.

Arnold is expected to name his 23-man squad for the Kuwait clash early next month, with a camp in the UAE acting as preparation.