Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has given his seal of approval to Australia’s Qatar World Cup base amid suggestions the squad has had to settle for “student digs”.

Arnold described the Socceroos’ accommodation and training base at the Aspire Academy as “outstanding”.

The Aspire Academy was founded in 2004 with “the ambitious target to be, by 2020, recognised as the world’s leading sports academy in the development of youth athletes”, according to its website.

Aspire’s facilities include a full-sized indoor football pitch and seven outdoor football pitches, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an indoor athletics track, a gymnastics hall, an outdoor gym, a table tennis area and squash courts,

The Socceroos will reportedly sleep in the facility’s dormitory-style athletes accommodation, which contains 128 ensuite double rooms and four suites.

While the sleeping arrangements seem far less appealing to those of other nations competing in the World Cup, Arnold is delighted with the set-up.

He also rejected suggestions Football Australia had to make do with what was left in terms of accommodation and training facilities because the Socceroos took until June’s playoffs to seal qualification.

“We chose that one when we played against Oman in Qatar (in October 2021),” Arnold told News Corp Australia.

“It’s a load of rubbish that because we qualified last we ended up with that. We had the options of other facilities.

“Aspire is a brilliant facility. The rooms are great and we’ve got freedom of the players being able to leave their rooms.

“Aspire is also a football facility where you’ve got all the equipment needed for physio and great training pitches, and it’s great for recovery with only three days between games.

“We will also have a great set-up outside where the boys can sit and watch the other games on a big a screen with cafes near them.

“Instead of the boys being locked down in a hotel and not being able to go anywhere because of fans, the boys will be able to go outside do what they like within the facility.”

An FA spokesman said the sport’s national governing body had planned ahead by booking Aspire Academy before the Socceroos had qualified, and in the process had beaten other nations wanting to stay there.

Meanwhile, Aziz Behich is the latest Australian player to join a Scottish Premiership club, with the Socceroos left back set to sign with Dundee United.

It was only last week that former Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti joined the same club, while Behich’s Socceroos teammates Aaron Mooy (Celtic) and Kye Rowles (Hearts) have also joined Scottish clubs since June’s World Cup playoffs.

Seven other Australians – Nathaniel Atkinson and Cameron Devlin (both Hearts), Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus (both St Mirren), Dylan McGowan (Kilmarnock), Lewis Miller (Hibernian) and Phillip Cancar (Livingston) – will also ply their trade in Scotland’s top flight this season.

Melbourne-born Behich has spent the best part of the past 10 years playing his club football in Turkey, and also had a short stint in the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven.

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