‘It’s time these boys got ruthless’: Arnold wants early goals on road to Qatar

Graham Arnold is confident the Socceroos will overcome their struggles against defensively-minded opposition, calling on his players to be more "ruthless" ahead of next month's opening 2022 World Cup qualifier.

Arnold's 12-month reign as coach has been marked by an inability to break down teams that set up to frustrate, with their failed Asian Cup defence in the United Arab Emirates a prime example of their tactical vulnerability.

Graham Arnold wants his players to be more “ruthless” as they begin their qualification path to Qatar 2022.Credit:AP

Australia will get some decent practice as they take their first steps on the road to Qatar. They have four qualifiers to come this year, starting with their away assignment against Kuwait on September 10.

"It's time these boys got ruthless," Arnold said. "We've dominated so many games since I've been in charge and it's time we finish teams off.

"Every time we've played an Asian opposition we've created a lot of chances and not scored. Obviously playing against packed defences that defend really deep, coming up with some great combination play and having players with the 1 v 1 action who can change a game is important.

"As coaches, you're always learning lessons and we've learned a few along the way. We'll be ready for when it comes."

Arnold will name his squad in a couple of weeks, and there will be some fresh faces involved for the team's first competitive fixture since their horror Asian Cup quarter-final defeat to the UAE.

Adam Taggart's sizzling form for Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the K-League means, for the first time in a long time, the Socceroos will have a fit and firing striker available.

"I get to watch his games every Monday on my computer. He's doing great," Arnold said. "It's not only the goals he's scoring but also his workrate's been fantastic … he's in really great shape. It's exciting, we'll have him in the squad."

Arnold and his assistant Rene Meulensteen are currently touring Europe, and have checked in with fringe players including wingers Brandon Borrello (SC Freiberg, Germany) and Ajdin Hrustic (FC Groningen, Netherlands), forward John Iredale (VfL Wolfsburg II, Germany) and defender George Timotheou (Zulte Waregem, Belgium).

Celtic pair Daniel Arzani and Tom Rogic are still recouperating from their respective surgeries, and Bristol City skipper Bailey Wright is nursing a quad injury, but otherwise Arnold's Socceroos pool is reporting a clean bill of health – aside from Daniel Vukovic (Achilles) and Martin Boyle (knee), of course, who suffered long-term injuries on the same day late last month.

"To lose him and Martin Boyle on the one day wasn't much fun," Arnold said. "Spoke to (Vukovic) the day he did it. Kid's devastated."

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