Socceroos coach Graham Arnold doesn’t believe teenage wonderkid Cristian Volpato is ready to be thrust onto the international scene when Australia tackle Japan and Saudi Arabia in must-win World Cup qualifiers.
The possibility of Volpato, who is eligible for either Australia or Italy, being named in the Socceroos squad for March’s games has been a hot topic after the 18-year-old scored for Roma on his second Serie A appearance last month.
Despite Australia naming five uncapped players in their 27-man squad for the cut-throat clashes, including 34-year-old Uruguay-born Bruno Fornaroli, Arnold has overlooked Volpato.
He said while he’s been in discussion with the Sydney-born playmaker about his international future, he’s not yet at the level to be a part of the Socceroos set-up.
“Cristian is a great talent and he’s playing under one of the greatest managers ever in Jose Mourinho,” Arnold said.
“But the kid is focusing on his club career.
“It’s an important decision when he makes it but is that the right time to throw the kid in now with these two important World Cup qualifiers?
“Probably the answer is no on my side of it.”
Whether Volpato will one day don a Socceroos jersey is something Arnold remains positive will happen.
“If he wasn’t really that keen he wouldn’t pick up the phone to me,” he said.
“He wouldn’t probably text message me twice a week.
“He’s a great kid with great communication and, as I said, he’s a talent.”