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Ryan tells Irankunda to embrace Socceroos call-up

Australia captain Mat Ryan is excited about the potential of teenage Adelaide sensation Nestory Irankunda, who has been called up by Graham Arnold.

ALEAGUE JETS ADELAIDE Nestory Irankunda has been called into the Socceroos' next camp after impressing at Adelaide United.
March 14, 2023
By George Clarke
14 March 2023

Socceroos skipper Mat Ryan has urged Adelaide United wonderkid Nestory Irankunda to make the most of his call-up after being brought into Graham Arnold’s squad.

Irankunda has been named as a training player for this month’s friendlies against Ecuador in Sydney on Friday, March 24, and Melbourne on Tuesday, March 28.

The 17-year-old has yet to start an A-League Men game for the Reds, but has scored three goals from the substitutes’ bench in his last three games.

Adelaide boss Carl Veart has taken a cautious approach with the prodigious talent and Ryan was hopeful that the exposure to an international environment can help Irankunda kick on.

“It’s only good for us as a national team that these guys are taking their opportunities and fingers crossed he can continue with that form,” Ryan said.

“The responsibility lies with him with (and) how well he’s able to do that when he’s in camp.

“(Adelaide captain) Craig Goodwin is playing a great mentoring role there, he said over the weekend he’s got his arm around his shoulder and he’s sharing his experience.

“If he (Irankunda) is an inquisitive guy, hopefully the other senior boys in the group can have an impact and influence on him to raise his game and can become an even better player from being in there.”

Irankunda’s rise is in contrast to the form of another precocious talent in Garang Kuol, who Ryan said would bounce back from a testing start to life in Scotland with Heart of Midlothian.

Kuol has struggled for gametime after being loaned to Hearts following his transfer to Premier League club Newcastle United from the Central Coast Mariners.

“You’ve got to stay resilient and have that mentality that nothing’s going to stop you,” Ryan said.

“In the time I’ve been with Garang he’s come across as having a really strong mentality.

“I’ve spoken to him a few times post-World Cup, but he’s always struck me as someone with a lot of self confidence and belief as well as being hardworking.”

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