Neil Critchley: Blackpool hero Kenny Dougall deserves to cap dream week with Australia debut

Blackpool’s Wembley hero Kenny Dougall will be looking to complete a dream week by claiming a first international cap.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 8:00 am

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The midfielder linked up with the Australia squad after scoring both goals in Sunday’s play-off final win against Lincoln City.

The Socceroos have four games in just 12 days, all in Kuwait, as they look to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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Two-goal Wembley matchwinner Kenny Dougall is in the Australia squad for four World Cup qualifiers in the next two weeks

Australia, who have won all four of their qualifiers so far, take on Kuwait tomorrow (8pm UK time) before facing Chinese Taipei next Monday, Nepal (June 11) and Jordan (June 15).

Dougall, who was born in Brisbane, has been capped four times by Australia’s Under-23 team but has yet to receive his first cap for the senior side.

Pool head coach Neil Critchley told The Gazette: “Kenny flew out to Kuwait on Monday to play for the Australian national team and I for one hope he gets a full cap, which he will deserve.

“I know Kenny has joked about me telling him not to shoot earlier in the season, but that’s because he was shooting from 30 and 35 yards and not 20!

“He kept smashing them over the crossbar and I was going nuts at him but he can shoot from 20 yards – he’s allowed to do that.

“Kenny is just such an incredible person to work with. He’s so honest and humble.

“He comes over with a few minutes to go and he’s cramping up, but he gives you absolutely everything in every game as all the players do.

“We play with a real intensity and we’re hard to play against.”

Elsewhere, Dan Ballard has joined the Northern Ireland squad for their friendly against Ukraine tomorrow.

The Arsenal loanee missed Sunday’s 3-0 win over Malta in order to play for the Seasiders at Wembley.

The centre-back was fit to start after overcoming an injury scare, having been brought off during the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Oxford United.

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Ballard left the country on Monday to link up with Ian Baraclough’s side, who take on Ukraine in Dnipro tomorrow.

The 21-year-old, who will return to Arsenal now his loan spell has come to an end, has already been capped seven times by Northern Ireland.

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