Heir apparent Genreau backs Socceroos to succeed


Fresh from scoring the goal which sent Toulouse up to Ligue 1 as champion of France’s second tier, Paris-born Genreau, 23, appears to possess the savoir-faire to carve out a long international career.

EXCLUSIVE: Genreau chats to The Early Kick-Off

His two caps so far merely hint at what the ex-Olyroos star might accomplish after racking up 34 appearances in Toulouse’s triumphant season.

With Rogic unavailable in Australia’s hour of need against UAE in next Thursday’s play-off for the right to meet Peru a week later, Genreau is likely to feature either from the start, or off the bench.

Fortified by his deeds with Toulouse, the just crowned PFA Harry Kewell Medal-winner is brimming with belief as Qatar 2022 beckons. 

“It’s sudden death now and it’s in these backs to the wall situations that Australia responds best, like the team did four years ago to qualify for Russia,” Genreau said ahead of Thursday morning’s (AEST) warm-up match against Jordan.

“I’m sure we can do it again - and there’s going to be no fear only belief that we can do it. 

“It’s that kind of Aussie fighting spirit that will help us in these games.

“Whether we’re facing Peru or Brazil, we take the same mentality into these winner-takes-all matches. 

“In these scenarios we believe we can mix it up with whoever we have to face.”

Genreau is one of a plethora of ex-Olyroos groomed by Arnold for the senior team who is now coming of age.

“Arnie’s confidence in the younger boys has helped us on our journey,” he said. “From qualifying us to the Tokyo Olympics and then giving us a chance to play for the Socceroos, it has helped us to be seen overseas and for me personally to be noticed by Toulouse on the international stage (and seal the move from Macarthur FC).

“As a group we owe him and will be doing everything in our power to qualify.

“The fact that he didn’t have to take the Olyroos squad but he chose to, showed his commitment to us.

“We have full confidence in Arnie - like a few of the boys I’ve been on this journey with him all the way.”

Genreau’s journey with Toulouse has been no less impressive as he now prepares to face the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in France’s elite top division.

“When I came here the objective was to ultimately become a top four club in France, that’s the goal of the president,” he said.

“And hopefully we’re beginning that process now. I think my style will suit Ligue 1 - it’s more tactical and technical and that could work well for me.

“The way the teams normally set up there’s generally more space to exploit, if you’re good enough.

“Everyone thinks of PSG and Lyon, but there are so many top teams in Ligue 1 like Marseille, Rennes, Monaco and Nantes. I’m buzzing at the prospect of going up against some of them.”

On being fast tracked by his manager, Philippe Montanier, in his debut season, Genreau admitted: “I certainly didn’t expect to see the game time I have when I first arrived. 

“I thought I’d have to bide my time and bed in but it hasn’t panned out that way and I’m grateful for that.

“I think we will bring in a few players and strengthen the squad, next year four teams go down from Ligue 1 and we want to make sure we’re not in that group.

“The club are very happy with my development but of course they’re always pushing me and want more.

You obviously embrace that and keep working on every aspect of your game, whether that’s creating, scoring or the defensive side of the game.

“I’ve developed a lot since coming here especially in dealing with the physical demands at this level, it’s a tough, hard division and teams are fighting for every single point.

 “I signed a four year deal and the aim is to be part of something big with this club.

This is the perfect place for me to grow as a player.