Phil Younghusband happy with the Azkals’ chemistry
Preparation is always the key, they say.
But for the Philippine Azkals, which had only ten days to prepare for the country’s first match against Bahrain in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, it was enough for the players to develop a deep bond, something the squad hopes will translate on the field.
“We’ve always said that ten days isn’t an ideal time. We would like to deal with it a lot longer, but considering we’ve had a short period of time to prepare, I think it’s going well,” said Phil Younghusband. “Everyone’s happy. Everyone’s excited. We haven’t had any major injuries. Every one is available.”
Younghusband even bared that the team went on to have a bowling session on Monday just to help the Azkals further develop their camaraderie off the field.
Though short in preparation, the longtime national team member is elated with the level of talent he has seen from the players which comprise the squad.
“It would’ve been nice to have another friendly or a game under our belt, but I think it’s going well. We’ve seen the things done in training, the talent we have on the field, and we feel more and more confident because we have such good players on our team,” said Younghusband.
Aside from new recruits, the Azkals also got significant boosts for the Bahrain match with the return of Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schröck, and Javier Patiño in the lineup.
“We expect to be deep. We have Javier up front and Stephan Schröck and all great players who have a lot to offer to the team and can make the difference and change the game,” said Younghusband.
Phil is also poised to take on a different role from his usual striker duties as Dooley is expected to put him on an attacking midfield position, something which Younghusband is ready to embrace.
“I expect a different role and I’m looking forward to the role I hope I can thrive on,” he said.
And Younghusband is just raring to get the win on Thursday, as he sees that a victory could set the tone for the country’s World Cup bid.
“It would mean a lot. This is the first game. We need a good start. If we get a bad result, we’re playing catch-up from now on, so we have to get a good result now. It will give us confidence going into the Yemen game and if we get two good results, that would go on and give us a good chance of doing well knowing that we still have to play Uzbekistan,” he said.
“We know how big this game is and it’s important to make the home advantage count.” CFC
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