I’ve sold Dykes Socceroos dream but 'it’s his decision', says Arnold


Queens Park Rangers-bound Lyndon Dykes has a “big decision” to make over his international future, with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold insisting he “won’t be pressuring or harassing” the striker to choose Australia over Scotland.

Dykes might already be locked down by the green and gold had the coronavirus not forced the cancellation of March’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Kuwait and Nepal.

But with Scotland due to commence their UEFA Nations Cup campaign against Israel on September 6, coach Steve Clarke is expected to renew efforts to cap Gold Coast-born Dykes, whose parents hail from Dumfries.

Though Dykes, 24, told The World Game late last year that his “heart lies with Australia”, the pressure from Clarke to commit has been unrelenting, sparked by 11 goals in 28 Scottish Premiership appearances for Livingston.

Dykes declined to comment when asked where his mind was at on his international intentions when contacted on Monday.

But Arnold and assistant Rene Meulensteen have launched a charm offensive of their own over the last 10 months, and remain hopeful he’ll choose Australia, even though their next match won’t be until the new year.

“I texted him congratulations on the QPR move and we are in communication all the time,” said Arnold.

“I know the decision is a big one for him but I’m not the type of person to put pressure on anybody over such an important matter.

“It’s up to him and his family to make that choice. We’ve had great discussions about what I believe to be best but it’s not about what I believe ... it’s about what the kid believes.

“We’d love to have him with us in the Australian team. We had him pencilled in for the March qualifiers but they were called off.

“And that’s probably made the decision even harder for him than before.”

Arnold said Meulensteen had watched Dykes on several occasions, and the pair had discussed in person what playing for Australia would offer him.

“We’ve both sold him the Socceroos dream and the Socceroos way,” he added.

“I’ve had half a dozen calls with him and probably 20 texts on my phone from him.

“At the end of the day, its his career not mine and I am supportive of any decision he makes. I want him to play for Australia. He’s a fantastic kid but it’s his call.

“I’m not going to be someone who for the sake of it caps him and says ‘now he plays for Australia’. He doesn’t need pressure from me.

“If they (Scotland) are pressuring him and then play him once and he never plays again, well I couldn’t live with myself doing that to the kid.

“I’ve told him how great it is to go to an Asian Cup and the World Cup and what that does for a player’s career.

“But I’m not the type of person to get on the phone every day and bug him and harass him.

“It’s a big decision and as I said to him it’s a great honour to be wanted by two nations.”