Socceroos great Robbie Slater says former prodigy Daniel Arzani must prove he has the “hunger and desire” to succeed as a professional footballer after deciding to return to the A-League.
Signed by Manchester City from Melbourne City as a teenager in 2018 soon after representing the Socceroos at that year’s World Cup, attacking weapon Arzani finds himself back in Australia four years later after signing a season-long deal with Macarthur FC.
Arzani didn’t make an appearance for Manchester City, who loaned him out to four clubs – Celtic (Scotland), Utrecht (Netherlands), Aarhus (Denmark) and Lommel (Belgium) – during his four-year contract.
Injuries hurt Arzani’s progress in Europe, particularly the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his Scottish premiership debut for Celtic in October 2018.
“Since the 2018 World Cup, he’s been a massive disappointment,” Slater said.
“Injuries obviously played their part, but one wondered whether it was the right move for him to go to Celtic.
“It didn’t suit his style of football and the way he plays. If only (current Celtic manager) Ange Postecoglou had been there when Arzani was there because Ange’s style of football suits Arzani.”
Slater said Arzani had to forget about the past, concentrate on what was ahead of him and conquer the “mental game”.
“He’s not going to make the Socceroos’ World Cup squad this year, but he’s young enough to be able to focus on the next one in 2026,” the English Premier League winner of 1994-95 said.
“He can’t change what’s happened, but he can learn from it … and for me it all comes down to his hunger and desire.
“How much does he want to be a footballer? That’s what’s going to make the difference in the end – the self-belief and the hunger. That’s what makes or breaks footballers.”
Slater said having former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke as his coach at Macarthur would aid Arzani.
“He needs to be surrounded by good people, and in Dwight Yorke, he’s got someone with massive experience to help him go where he wants to go because Yorke’s scaled the heights of the world game,” Slater said.
Arzani said: “I’m looking forward to returning to the A-League and bringing my experiences to the Bulls.
“Being a new club, it’s exciting especially to be working under someone like Dwight Yorke and the rest of the staff here at the Bulls. I can’t wait to be back on the pitch and to get the season started.”