Brighton’s mystery Aussie Gwargis aiming to grab Arnold’s attention

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There’s a third Australian at Brighton & Hove Albion, and he’s on Graham Arnold’s radar as the Socceroos and Olyroos coach scouts the globe for undiscovered national team prospects.

Enter Sydney-born, Sweden-raised midfielder Peter Gwargis, who’s already had a taste of senior football with the Seagulls.

But despite his brush with the big-time in an EFL Cup loss to Aston Villa last September, the teenager with the Iraqi-lineage has been too bashful to front up to the club’s resident Aussies Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy - and tell of his desire to one day join them in the green and gold.

He hasn’t yet even told them he’s Australian.

Capped at U-16 and U-19 level by Sweden, Gwargis was first approached by the Australian set-up last year but had an existing commitment to Sweden.

However, the creative midfielder, who joined Brighton on a three-year deal from Swedish outfit Jonkopings Sodra in 2018, told The World Game: “I’m definitely open to Australia”.

“I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot and there was some contact from Australia last year.

“They wanted to call me up (for the Olyroos) but I’d already said yes to Sweden, who were playing at the same time, and I wasn’t able to go on that occasion.

“Obviously a final decision doesn’t have to come until you play at senior level for either country - and I’m definitely open to Australia if the opportunity comes along.”

One such opportunity could theoretically come at the Olympic Games in July, should Arnold see something in the youngster which could add to the U-23s armoury.

“That would be a great thing to be a part of, for any player,” added Gwargis, who can play wide or more centrally.

“That’s the stuff of dreams and something that’s really a once in a lifetime.”

Gwargis, whose parents are from Iraq’s Assyrian community, left Sydney for Sweden aged just three with his family.

But he has many relatives still in Australia and said his father would be proud to see him pull on the Australian jersey one day.

Though he sees compatriots Ryan and Mooy at training each day, Gwargis - a regular starter with the Seagulls’ U-23s - hasn’t formally made himself known to them.

“I see them all the time - but we haven’t really spoken and I don’t think they know I’m born in Australia,” he added.

“I should tell them next time I see them. Maybe I’ve been a bit shy so far.”

Gwargis is a fan of both, saying: “Maty Ryan is a great goalkeeper ... outstanding almost every game.

“And Aaron Mooy has come into the club this season and has been doing just incredible.

“He’s a clever and classy player. He takes everything in his stride and has become a very important player for the team.”

Gwargis has not yet been able to capitalise on his maiden first-team appearance for Graham Potter’s side and sees a loan as one possibility looking ahead, as he seeks greater senior football experience.

“That’s one thing that might happen at some point because of course it’s very tough to break into a Premier League line-up,” he added.

“It’s the best league in the world and you have to work as hard as you can and wait for your chance.

“The Villa match (a 3-1 loss in which Gwargis played the 90 minutes) was great experience but when you get a taste of that you just want more and more.

“I’ve grown a lot as a player and a person since coming to Brighton.

“Technically and physically I’m better and the facilities here are some of the best in England.

“You have everything here and there are no excuses. It’s a great place to be.”