Former Test captain Michael Clarke and rugby league great Laurie Daley have traded words during a heated exchange live on air.
The cricketer and NSW State of Origin icon briefly lost their cool during a segment surrounding Socceroos coach Graham Arnold’s decision to snub Tom Rogic for Australia’s World Cup squad.
Clarke called Daley out for telling a “lie” during the exchange.
Rogic’s selection was one of the most hotly-debated issues in the weeks leading up to the announcement of Australia’s 26-man squad earlier this month.
Arnold said earlier this year he was concerned about the limited matches Rogic has played since his departure from Celtic was confirmed in May.
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Rogic is yet to start a game for West Brom since his move to the Championship club.
He also famously skipped the Socceroos’ World Cup qualification playoff against Peru in June due to “personal reasons”.
However, when Arnold said Rogic would be welcomed back with open arms recently, the 29-year-old was expected to be one of the first players picked.
Instead he was controversially left out alongside Trent Sainsbury and keeper Mitch Langerak.
It’s why the debate around Rogic was so fierce during Friday’s segment on Sky Sports Radio between co-hosts Clarke and Daley.
Clarke defended Rogic for choosing not to be involved in the crucial qualifier against Peru, while Daley appeared to question the motivation behind Rogic’s withdrawal.
Clarke famously walked out in the middle of an Australian cricket team tour of New Zealand in 2010 as a result of “personal reasons”. He had made a snap decision to return to Australia to speak with ex-fiancee Lara Worthington before the pair ended their engagement of two years.
Clarke said it wasn’t fair to question Rogic while the reasons for his “personal issues” remain unknown.
Daley said the Socceroos should tell Rogic to “get stuffed”.
Here is an edited transcript of their discussion of Rogic’s omission, which included Big Sports Breakfast co-host Gerard Middleton.
Laurie Daley: I’m happy with that decision.
Gerard Middleton: I think he had to be there as well. We’re not good enough to leave out probably our best player.
LD: He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to qualify.
Michael Clarke: Is that what it is though, Loz?
LD: If it’s my decision and I think he didn’t want to be there.
MC: Hang on, it’s ‘personal reasons’. We don’t know what happened. Something could have happened to someone in his family.
LD: So he hasn’t played enough footy.
MC: But our captain (Mathew Ryan) has?
MC: I’m so happy he’s not selecting me or dropping me.
LD: Tommy Rogic can get stuffed.
MC: Before you say that. Think for a moment. It could have been, imagine if someone close to him passed away?
LD: I just don’t think he’s playing good enough footy.
MC: No, that’s a lie. You’re not saying that, You’re not saying that. You’re not picking him because you’re pissed off because he chose his family or for personal reasons.
LD: I just wouldn’t pick him. He’s not in my squad.
MC: Now you’ve changed your tune.
LD: He hasn’t explained himself properly to the coach or the group.
MC: But what if it’s someone who passed away and he doesn’t want to talk about it. It hurts him too much? What if somebody passed away and he doesn’t want to talk about it because it hurts too much?
LD: I’d feel sorry for him.
MC: So you’re saying you’re not picking him because of that?
LD: No, I’m not picking him because of form. And — if he’s chosen not to play for Australia because he thinks that we’re not going to qualify and he’s putting his club over his country — I would say, ‘You know what, this is going to upset the dynamic of the team so I don’t think I can bring you in at this last moment’. That’s the way I’m reading it.
Harry Kewell slams Socceroos selections
Australian football legend Harry Kewell has also questioned Arnold’s decision to ignore Rogic.
“Do I believe he’s picked the strongest squad? No,” Kewell told SBS.
“I think he’s missed one or two key players, which is a shame. But he’s on the ground and is there 24/7. He knows exactly what he needs in his team to make this a successful World Cup attempt.
“I hope he’s got it right. I just would have liked to have seen the likes of Tommy Rogic in there. I know Tom hasn’t done the right thing by his career by getting a club earlier, just kind of waiting and drifting it out before last minute he’s got a club. I still would’ve liked to have seen him go because he could have been the difference.
“It’s going to be huge because we’ll be using a lot of our energy in the defensive part of the game. You need fresh legs and someone to hold the ball up, drive the ball, drop the shoulder and get past someone one, allow the back line to get up and give Matty Ryan that little bit of space. He [Rogic] is the player that can do that.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are other players in the squad like Boyle, Mabil and Duke who can all hold it up. But when you have a class player like Tommy Rogic, he could have been the difference in maybe the last 15 minutes in a game.”
Australia’s World Cup campaign begins against France on November 23.
Australian 2022 FIFA World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne
Defenders: Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Milos Degenek, Aziz Behich, Fran Karacic, Nathaniel Atkinson, Thomas Deng, Bailey Wright, Joel King, Keanu Bacchus
Midfielders: Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree, Cameron Devlin
Attackers: Jamie Maclaren, Martin Boyle, Awer Mabil, Garang Kuol, Craig Goodwin, Mitchell Duke, Jason Cummings, Mat Leckie
Story Credit: news.com.au