Rawls proves invaluable to Australian team

22 March 2024 - 3:40 pm

Makeshift left-back Kye Rowles is crucial to Australia’s hopes of securing a place in the final round of World Cup qualifying, while Graham Arnold awaits Jordy Bos’ Knee scan results.

Due to his late arrival in Australia, Alexander-Arnold brought Bosz on as a substitute in Sydney’s 2-0 win over Lebanon on Thursday, with Rawls, a centre-back, forced to play on the left side of the back four.

But Arnold’s plans were thrown into disarray when Bosz, who replaced Riley McGree with a foot injury in the first half, went down with a knee problem himself.

The pair will be sent for scans, with Alexander-Arnold suggesting Middlesbrough midfielder McGree and Belgian Bos will be unavailable for Australia’s trip to Canberra again on Tuesday against Lebanon.

With main left back Aziz Behich absent, and Bosz possibly missing as well, Rawls’ importance is even more important, and he scored his first for the national team in Thursday’s game. Goal.

“We feel very comfortable with each other’s performance on the defensive line,” Rawls said.

“Whoever is there, we know what role they are going to play and we have confidence and trust in each other.

“(The left-back) going forward is different, but defensively it’s the same for me.

“I’m happy to be able to do the job that the team needs, as do all the boys in the team.

“No matter where I am, I will give my best.

“I was playing on the left side of a back three at my club (Hearts) anyway, so it wasn’t a big change.”

Rawls looked comfortable when dealing with Lebanon’s most dangerous player, Hassan Matouq, on Thursday, but overall, Alexander-Arnold stressed the need for his team to step up their efforts.

While a goal from Rawls and an early cross/shot from Keanu Backes sealed the win, Australia still had some incredible moments that could have been punished by stronger opponents.

“It was a bit sloppy and it’s not easy to play on the pitch,” Arnold said.

“We have to do better and we gave Lebanon more confidence late in the game.

“We have to rebuild, I said that before the Asian Cup, but the most important thing is we got the three points and then we move on.”

Australia need only win to secure a spot in the final stages of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.