Fleetwood Town defender Harry Souttar made a goalscoring senior international debut as Australia thrashed Nepal 5-0 in today’s World Cup qualifier.
READ MORE: Souttar determined to seize Socceroos chance
The towering centre-half, who is on loan at Highbury from Stoke City, headed home the Socceroos’ third goal from a corner after 23 minutes in Canberra.
Souttar’s dream debut at the GIO Stadium continued as he celebrated a second goal with another header on 59 minutes, though this was later recorded as own goal by Dinesh Rajbanshi, who got the final touch. James Maclaren scored Australia’s other three.
Souttar had been in the squad for the previous qualifier away to Kuwait last month. The 20-year-old was not selected for that team but justified manager Graham Arnold’s decision to name him this time.
Souttar played junior internationals for Scotland, the country of his birth, but was eligible to switch allegiances because his mother is Australian.
He has said that his decision to return to Fleetwood for a full season’s loan was influenced by his hopes of boosting his international ambitions.
And it has worked out well all round for the defender, who doesn’t miss a Fleetwood game this weekend due to the postponement of their fixture at Sunderland.
Speaking before linking up with the national team, Souttar said: “For me it helps because I don’t miss a game and that’s what I came here to do - to play football.
“I spoke to the manager (Arnold) in the summer, when I went to the (training) camp, and he said, ‘Just make sure you’re playing first-team football next season.’
“So that was in the back of my thoughts as well. I’m trying to do that to the best of my abilities.”
With two wins out of two in their group, next up for Souttar and Australia is a visit to Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.