Socceroos star Martin Boyle says a “frustrated” Craig Goodwin might have to continue to bide his time on the bench at the Asian Cup due to the form of ex-Melbourne City prodigy Jordan Bos.
One of the heroes of Australia’s 2022 World Cup squad, attacking weapon and dead-ball specialist Goodwin only appeared in one of the Socceroos’ three Asian Cup group matches, and is no guarantee to start in Sunday night’s round-of-16 battle with Indonesia at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.
Boyle revealed that 32-year-old Goodwin had suffered a “slight knock” earlier in the tournament, but that did not stop him being among the available substitutes for Australia’s 1-0 defeat of Syria and 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan.
“He’s been on the bench, and he’s raring to go,” Boyle said of the former Adelaide United winger and captain.
“He’s training really well. He might be a bit frustrated that he’s not playing, but equally we’re getting results, and he’s a great option to come off the bench.
“He’s chomping at the bit to play, but ‘Bossy’ has come in, he’s scored his goal (after coming on as a substitute for Goodwin in Australia’s 2-0 win over India) in his first tournament, and he’s playing really well at the moment.
“Everyone wants to keep their jersey, so at the moment he’s doing that and I’m sure if “Goody” gets back in, there’s no doubt that he could keep the shirt.
“He’s probably the best left-footed player I’ve ever seen … (but) Bossy is managing to keep Goody out of the team at the moment.”
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold also has the option of starting both Bos and Goodwin in the same team by using Bos at left-back ahead of experienced defender Aziz Behich.
“The boys are training really hard to keep each other out of the team … which is great,” Boyle said.
Boyle also said that first-choice centre-forward Mitch Duke – who missed the Socceroos’ draw with Uzbekistan due to a hamstring strain – was ‘eager’ to play.
“He seems in tip-top condition. Whether he’ll take part in the game (against Indonesia) or not, I’m not sure, but obviously if he is available, then he’ll be an added boost to the squad,” Australia’s right-winger said.
It would be a surprise if Duke had fully recovered in time to play on Sunday night, meaning that either emerging star Kusini Yengi or the evergreen Bruno Fornaroli would lead the attack against the Indonesians.
Yengi impressed as a starter against Uzbekistan, while Melbourne Victory ace Fornaroli came off the bench for the third match in succession.
“Yengi had a good game. He’s a big, powerful boy,” Boyle said.
“He brings others into play really well. He makes great runs in behind and obviously we can stretch teams and we can get other people on the ball.
“Bruno’s probably the most intelligent one out of us all. He makes everyone tick. He gives good advice, and with his movement, he’s a really clever player.”
Boyle said that there was “no room for error” now that the tournament had reached its knockout stages.
“Every little mistake we could be punished for, so we know what we have to do. We have to keep progressing,” he said.
“We have another gear to step up.”
AFC Asian Cup round-of-16
Australia v Indonesia
Sunday, 10.30pm (AEDT)
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Broadcast: Network 10
Possible Socceroos line-up: Mat Ryan, Lewis Miller, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine, Keanu Baccus, Riley McGree, Martin Boyle, Kusini Yengi, Jordan Bos.