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Australia coach Arnold warns Bayern teen of ‘tough pathway’

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold warned Bayern Munich signing Nestory Irankunda on Wednesday that the 17-year-old will need to work hard if he is to fulfil his potential and play for Australia.

The attacker Irankunda, who was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania after his parents escaped fighting in their native Burundi, sealed a dream move to the German giants on Tuesday.

The teenager, who is not in the current Australia squad, will turn 18 in February and join Bayern from Adelaide United on July 1 next year on a long-term contract. 

Irankunda has already represented Australia at under-17 level and is being touted as one of the country’s most exciting prospects ever. 

Arnold also called him up in March for training with the senior squad.

But ahead of World Cup qualifying on Thursday, when Australia host Bangladesh in Melbourne, Arnold attempted to douse the hype a little.

“It’s way too early to speak about that,” the Australia boss said, asked by reporters if Irankunda could one day reach the same levels as Socceroos greats Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill.

“It’s a pathway that Nestory needs to go on and it’s a tough pathway.

“But he’s going to a fantastic club in Bayern Munich that really want to help and develop kids along the way.

“Nestory has great qualities, but at the same time it’s a pathway where he needs to believe in himself, he needs to work extremely hard, both on and off the field.”

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