Arnold wants ‘siege mentality’ | The Express Tribune



Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi earned his first Australia call-up on Thursday as Socceroos coach Graham Arnold looks to make a fast start to qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Arnold named a largely unchanged 23-man squad for matches against Bangladesh next Thursday in Melbourne before facing Palestine in Kuwait on November 21.

The 24-year-old Yengi comes in to add firepower, having scored five times in nine appearances for Portsmouth, who play in England’s third tier.

Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, another uncapped player, also got the nod.

“We’ve got to go out with that siege mentality to win every game,” said Arnold, who took Australia to the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup, where they lost 2-1 to eventual champions Argentina.

“It’s about taking that energy out on the pitch and getting the job done,” he added.

Arnold said he wanted to bolster his attacking options for games against opponents that should pose relatively little threat, at least on paper.

The pacy Yengi stands 189 centimetres (six feet two inches) and has impressed since moving to Portsmouth in the summer from Western Sydney Wanderers.

“Yengi is doing exceptionally well at Portsmouth,” said Arnold, whose side gave England a scare in a 1-0 friendly defeat at Wembley last month.

“He gives us something completely different in size and speed, and I think that’s important for these two games.”

As well as the start of World Cup qualifying, the Asian Cup in Qatar is also just two months away.

“Experimenting is over,” said Arnold.

“Now it’s all about getting the tactics right and getting the players on the pitch and their performance right, and winning those games at all costs.”

Lebanon are the other team in Group I of the second round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The campaign doubles up as qualifying for the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.


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