FORMER Canowindra boy Rhyan Grant was rewarded for his rich vein of club form by making his senior debut for the Socceroos in last week’s friendly victory over Lebanon.
The Sydney FC defender, who is the son of Rifty and Kay Grant, played every minute of the 3-0 win at ANZ Stadium and looked comfortable pressing forward throughout the night.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who mentored Grant at Sydney FC for four seasons, said it’s exciting to see his players battling hard for places in next year’s AFC Asian Cup squad.
"The culture is fantastic at the moment and when you have competition for places, it makes the environment even healthier," he said.
"I just have this real strong belief that something special is coming.
"It's not easy when you play a team that plays a back five and plays so deep, the space is less.
"But I thought some of the combination play, the runs in behind was excellent and the finishing will come."
It had been almost 10 years since Grant made his first appearance in national colours when he was named in the 2009 Under 20s Australian FIFA World Cup team.
Grant was one of seven changes Arnold made to his starting side from Saturday's 1-all draw with South Korea.
Midfielder James Jeggo also made his debut against Lebanon alongside Grant.
The spotlight in Tuesday night’s game belonged to another recent addition to the Socceroos, Hibernian winger Martin Boyle.
The Scotsman, who is eligible to play for Australia since his father was born in Sydney, scored twice in just his second game for the national side.
Much of the pre-game attention went towards Socceroos legend Tim Cahill making his final appearance for the national team but Boyle became the talking point during the opening half with his 19th and 41st minute goals.
Boyle then became a provider when his 68th minute cross was pumped into the back of the goal by substitute Mathew Leckie.
Cahill came on to play nine minutes in his 108th national appearance.
He couldn’t find the goal which the Sydney crowd craved.
His best chance came on a cross which Lebanon defender Kassem Al Zein spoilt with his glancing touch, preventing Cahill’s header from troubling the goalkeeper.
The final score mirrored the result from the last time the two teams met in 2012.