Australia hitman highlights issue with Portsmouth as he links up with Socceroos squad for World Cup qualifiers

It's been a dream start at Pompey for the new Socceroos squad memeber - but there's also been plenty of adjustment for the signing from Western Sydney Wanderers.

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Kusini Yengi has spoken of his delight at his maiden international call-up as he targeted helping his country reach the World Cup.

And the Aussie hitman joked linking up with the Socceroos on the other side of the world has provided some pleasant respite from the temperatures dropping on these shores.

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Yengi’s fine start to life at Pompey has been recognised as he was selected for Australia’s qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine, as they begin their bid to reach North America in 2026.

it’s a special moment for the 24-year-old, as he joined up with the rest of Graham Arnold’s squad ahead of their opener in Melbourne tomorrow.

And Yengi joked with temperatures reaching as low as freezing in the city in recent weeks, it’s been an opportunity to prepare in a more comfortable climate.

He told the Subway Socceroo’s Twitter account: ‘I was on the flight over with Mass (Luongo) and Cam (Burgess). They looked after me and spoke a little bit to me about what it will be like in camp and played some cards on the plane. So that was great.

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‘It’s something that not many people get to experience, so I’m looking forward to it, can’t wait and hopefully we get the win.

‘I was eager to get here and buzzing to be in the squad and see some of the familiar faces.

‘I was in the physio room earlier lying on the bed next to Craig (Goodwin). It felt really weird, to be honest. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling.

‘It felt like yesterday when I was at Adelaide and he was my captain there. It felt a kind of strange feeling, but felt right.

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‘It’s definitely a pleasant change compared to what I’ve been experiencing in Portsmouth.

‘The last couple of weeks in Portsmouth I was training the other day with a beanie, snood, gloves and long pants. So, yes, the sun’s quite nice!’

Yengi’s call-up has arrived after a hurtling opening to life at PO4 with five goals bagged to date - and his first four delivered in just 87 minutes of football.

An ankle injury slowed his progress after a freak training ground collision with Christian Saydee, with Socceroos boss Graham Arnold acknowledging a call-up would have arrived sooner.

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It was pleasant bolt from the blue for the striker when the call was made.

Yengi added: ‘I woke up in the morning, rolled over and grabbed my phone: unknown number. (Then there’s) a message saying: "Hey, it’s Arnie. Can I give you a call?".

‘He gives me a call and says he’s been watching what I’m doing in Portsmouth and wanted to select me in the squad earlier, but I got injured.

‘Now there’s the opportunity and they asked if I’d like to be in the squad and take the opportunity on. I said “of course, it would be a pleasure and an honour to represent Australia”.’