Arzani hopes to make it to Russia, but not at Cahill's expense

Teen sensation Daniel Arzani is on the point of realising a childhood dream and making good a youthful boast to his family and friends after being named in the Socceroos' preliminary squad for the World Cup in Russia.

But 35 into 23 doesn't go, and he and other new faces and fringe players will be working overtime during the training camp in Turkey to convince coach Bert van Marwijk that they are worthy of inclusion for the tournament.

Daniel Arzani (left) has been included in the Socceroos’ preliminary World Cup squad.

''He's a national icon, isn't he. He's a legend, he deserves a spot in the squad more than anyone else.

''He gave me a lot of advice and support when I first came to City. He took me and a few other young guys under his wing and taught us about the game.''

Cahill's position is an interesting one. Since leaving City he has hardly played, despite moving to Millwall expressly to get game time. He would be impossible to pick on form, but his special status within the squad and his ability to pop up with crucial goals may earn him a spot.

Ironically, it was his departure from City in December that paved the way for Arzani to make his breakthrough.

He made his first-team starting debut in early January, just days after his 19th birthday, and has been a critical player for City ever since.

Had Cahill remained the odds are that it would have been him, not Arzani, coming off the bench in early January.

''It's been fantastic to have got this far so quickly,'' Arzani said.

''I have only played 14 games so it's amazing to see what you can achieve in such a short time. Now I am just really happy that I have given myself a chance to be involved and make it to the World Cup.''

He has made remarkable improvement in just three months and has an X-factor that few in the A-League possess, a quality acknowledged by van Marwijk who watched his players struggle to create any attacking fluency in the heavy loss to Norway and the goalless draw with Colombia in March.

''I definitely feel physically stronger now that I have played more senior football, and mentally I am learning to cope with the pressure too. International football would be another level up but I am confident I can adapt and raise my game,'' Arzani said.

''Playing in the second half of the season and in the finals, I learned a lot more about how the game works, where to be, how to be involved, when to be involved.

''Our coach, Warren Joyce, has worked a lot with me, and I have had good advice from Luke Brattan, Dario Vidosic and our defender Bart Schenkenveld. They are all experienced players and football people and they have really helped.''

And that boast to family and friends?

''When I was younger and with the family, joking around with my cousins and family, I told them I would be in the Socceroos for the World Cup in Russia,'' Arzani recalled.

''I haven't got there yet, but I am close and am very excited by the chance I have to make it.''

While his inclusion could not be regarded as a surprise – the drums were beating about his ability when he made his A-League impact – there are a handful of other newcomers or inexperienced internationals in the preliminary squad who will be keen to join him on the plane to Kazan.

Dimi Petratos has been given the chance to shake off any grand final disappointment by being included, as does his former Newcastle Jets teammate Andrew Nabbout.

Fran Karacic, the Croatian based defender, is the true bolter.

Alex Gersbach is given a chance to impress after being left out last time, as does striker Apostolos Giannou, who figured under Ange Postecoglou before being discarded.

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