Ange Postecoglou, the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, provided a pep talk to Australia’s players ahead of their friendly against England on Friday night. The 58-year-old, who just earned his second Premier League Manager of the Month award in a succession, was requested to give a speech before the match at Wembley by Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold.
Postecoglou previously led Australia for five years before stepping down two weeks after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Guus Hiddink, who also spent a time in command of the Socceroos, joined him in encouraging the current generation of players ahead of their match against Gareth Southgate’s team.
“It’s the impact you can have for future generations,” Postecoglou addressed the Australian team. “When you play in a stadium like that, you have to make an impression.” It’s not only for you; there will be a little boy or girl who will look at it and think, “One day, that’ll be me.”
“It wasn’t that long ago I was here [as manager], now I’m in the Premier League and everybody loves me, but trust me I haven’t changed one bit. I’m the same person but because I was Australian, because you’re Australian, sometimes you’ve got to work that little bit harder. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Postecoglou later expressed his gratitude at being invited to address the Socceroos camp, where he enjoyed catching up with some familiar faces. He also hailed the job that Arnold is doing in charge of Australia in a show of confidence for his successor ahead of Friday’s game under the Wembley arch.
“I had a free afternoon and they said to come over for lunch, so it was good to catch up with everyone,” he added. “It’s good to see some familiar faces, Jackson [Irvine], Milos [Degenek], Maty [Ryan], Aziz [Behich], Massimo [Luongo]. I hadn’t seen those boys since I left Australia so it was great to connect and good to see some young faces in there.
“Guus had a significant impact on Australian football, so it was great to spend time with him and ‘Arnie.'” He’s done an outstanding job with the Socceroos. I’m excited about the game. Wembley Stadium has a capacity of 90,000 people. I will undoubtedly attend. I marked it down a long ago.”
Australia will be looking to make their old coach pleased when they face England on Friday, looking for their first victory against the Three Lions since 2003. They are huge underdogs, but Postecoglou’s stirring speech will have motivated them, which may be the difference if the match goes down to the wire.