Teen sensation Nestory Irankunda will make his hotly-anticipated Socceroos debut in Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh.

Coach Graham Arnold confirmed 19-year-old Irankunda would play in Thursday night’s match at Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka.

Irankunda’s debut should end scrutiny over the Bayern Munich-bound winger’s international future.

“He’s been very good,” Arnold said on Wednesday.

“He’s fit into the culture extremely well. 

“He’s hanging around a lot of senior boys which is good to see and he’s been training very, very well – and you will see him on the park at some stage tomorrow.”

Arnold wouldn’t confirm whether Irankunda would start or come off the bench.

When asked what he’d told Irankunda to do, Arnold said: “‘To do that (what he can do) for me. Do that for the nation. Go out there and play to your strengths and your skills.

“I’m not going to try and control him and get him to do things that is not his specialty. But what he’s very, very good at is doing what Nestor does and we will fit that into our style of play, but also into our system. 

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

“He just has a couple little things around, obviously, his defensive side of things (to work on). 

“But at the same time, that’s why we need the senior boys on the field, some of them, to help coach and lead those younger boys, to make them feel comfortable on the pitch.”

Before his call-up, Irankunda said he would consider a switch to Tanzania or Burundi if he continued to be overlooked.

“I think Nestor just wanted a headline for that one. And I think you guys (the media) did it for him,” Arnold joked.

“No, he’s not even spoken about it.

“We’ve had a chat and a laugh about it but the kid wants to be here.

“He wants to play for the Socceroos and he’s said that his dream is to play for the Socceroos and I believe he’s ready, prepared, and prepared for it.”

Arnold had no fitness concerns and planned to use almost every player between Thursday’s clash and next Tuesday’s game against Palestine in Perth.

Australia are top of group I and already into the next round of qualifying.



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