Socceroos ‘more relaxed’ under Arnie than Ange
Socceroos defender Brad Smith says life is more fun and less pressurised in the national team under Graham Arnold than in the days of Ange Postecoglu.
Smith was a regular during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign under Postecoglu before limping off with a hip injury in the play-off against Syria. Injuries and a lack of playing time meant Smith was overlooked for last year's tournament in Russia under Bert van Marwijk and he was again left out when Arnold picked his squad for the Asian Cup in January.
The 25-year-old returned to national team action in June for the 1-0 friendly loss against South Korea and is pushing to feature in next week's World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign opener in Kuwait.
He admits there's a different feel within the camp under Arnold than those he experienced during Postecoglu's reign.
"We're trying to enjoy the time here that we have together and I think that's really important, I'm really enjoying it now and I think the boys are, it's gone really well," Smith said.
"I know we can do special things with this team.
"Different coaches have different styles. I owe a lot to Ange, he helped me a lot in my career but now I think it's just changed.
"It was a bit more pressurised back then, now it's a lot more enjoyable ... both coaches were great but the culture here now is very good."
After struggling to secure regular football at English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Bournemouth, Smith has rediscovered his form and fitness on loan at American Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders.
Smith believes this camp is almost the first time in his international career he's arrived on the back of regular football and he's hopeful that will transition into performance on the pitch.
"When I was getting called in last time I wasn't playing regular football and playing as much as I'd like on a consistent basis which is always difficult for a player," he said.
"For me now, just playing week-in, week-out and doing well for Seattle ... it's great coming back into Socceroos camp while I'm in form and while I'm confident. It's always a good time to be involved."