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Socceroos coach Arnold wary of pushing game-changer Volpato


Australia coach Graham Arnold will not push AS Roma midfielder Cristian Volpato to commit to the Socceroos after the 18-year-old recently made his debut for Jose Mourinho’s Serie A side.

Sydney-born Volpato made his first appearance for his club off the bench in a 3-0 loss against Inter Milan earlier this month and is eligible to play for both Australia and Italy.

Speculation has been mounting Vopato would be called up for Australia’s World Cup qualifiers against Vietnam and Oman on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1 respectively, but Arnold stressed the decision of who to represent lies with the player.

“At the end of the day, the kid has to decide with his heart,” Arnold said.

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“I’m not someone who’s going to want to bring him in and just throw him on the pitch for one minute … that’s not life. I don’t think that’s fair on emotion.

“After a conversation, the kid has to decide for himself what feels more comfortable on the heart.

“Is it the emu and the kangaroo or is it the Italian badge?”

Volpato was called up in August for Italy’s under-19 team before being forced to withdraw from the squad. He qualifies to play for Italy through his parents.

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The midfielder signed a three-year contract with Roma last year after spells in the academies of Australian clubs Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

“The kid’s doing great. He’s getting a chance with Jose Mourinho, one of the best, and Roma,” Arnold said.

“He brings that X-factor that a lot of players don’t have. He’s someone that can change a game.

“He’s a player that’s not robotic who you have to tell every time which passes to play.

“He sees something different, and that’s a speciality that a lot of players don’t have.”

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