Socceroos duty rules Ikonomidis out of A-League season run-in

Chris Ikonomdis celebrates with Socceroos fans

Following his inclusion in the Socceroos squad for next month’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers, Chris Ikonomidis will miss Glory’s remaining three games of the regular A-League season and will also be unavailable for the Finals should Richard Garcia’s side reach them.

The 26-year-old was named in the squad on Tuesday and has flown to Kuwait City ahead of the first of the Socceroos’ four games which will see them take on Kuwait on Thursday 3 June.

Graham Arnold’s men will then face Chinese Taipei on Monday 7 June, Nepal on Friday 11 June and Jordan on Tuesday 15 June as their quest for a place at Qatar 2022 continues.

And the national team Head Coach is very appreciative of Glory’s co-operation around Ikonomidis’ availability for these crucial fixtures.

“I have to give great gratitude today to Richard Garcia and Perth Glory,” he said.

“They have released Chris Ikonomidis and Chris will be here tomorrow even before this weekend’s game [for Glory in the A-League].

“When you speak to Richard Garcia, it is all about what the Socceroos meant to him and what it meant to himself to play for Australia.

“He understands the conditions that we are facing here [in the Middle East].

“To get the kid [Ikonomidis] across early to acclimatise so that he will be ready for the first game [in Kuwait] is fantastic and as I said, I have got great gratitude to Perth Glory for doing that.”

Garcia, meanwhile, is delighted for Ikonomidis but naturally very disappointed to be losing a key player at such a crucial stage of the season.

“We are incredibly proud that Chris will be representing Perth Glory on the international stage,” he said, “and are desperately keen for them to do well and remain on course to qualify for Qatar 2022.

“The fact that Chris has been selected is a reflection of the excellent form that both he and the rest of our team have shown in recent weeks.

“Our aim is to see many more Glory players capped at senior international level in the coming years and to firmly establish ourselves as a club where players can realise their international ambitions.

“But Chris’ selection is, of course, bittersweet as it means we will be denied the services of a key player for three huge games and possibly more should we make the top six.

“As a proud former Socceroo myself, I am committed to doing everything I can to give the national team the greatest chance of success and qualifying for the World Cup is absolutely vital for football in this country.

“However, the fact that these games are not being played during an international break is hugely disappointing and damaging not only for us as a club, but for the A-League in general.

“A number of the league’s best players, including Chris, will not be available to feature during the climax of the season and that for me is a completely unacceptable state of affairs.”