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Irankunda wants Roos call-up but won’t rule out switch

Bayern Munich-bound wunderkind Nestory Irankunda won’t rule out a switch of international allegiances if he continues to be overlooked for Socceroos squads.

Irankunda, 18, said it was his “dream” to play for Australia but he is also eligible to play for Tanzania and Burundi.

He was called up for Australia in March, 2023, as a train-on player without debuting but hasn’t featured in a squad since, while he was also overlooked for the Olyroos’ U23 Asian Cup squad this year.

Irankunda was left out of the Olyroos squad based on concerns over his perceived maturity, but delivered an impressive season with Adelaide United, recording eight goals and six assists.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will pick his squad this week for World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine.

Asked if it was his hope that his move to Europe would help him gain more time with the Socceroos, Irankunda said: “It was. But as of now I’m not too sure on how things are going to go.

“I haven’t been called up for a few of the squads now. I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do in the future, national level. So we’ll see.

“I’m still eligible for Tanzania, Burundi as well.

“But obviously it’s a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos and if the opportunity comes again then hopefully it comes soon and I take it.”

When pressed on whether he could see himself playing for another country if his situation didn’t change, Irankunda said, “Yeah, of course.”

Irankunda played 20 minutes off the bench in the A-League Men All Stars’ 8-0 win over a youthful Newcastle United outfit on Friday night.

With Arnold in the stands, Irankunda recorded an assist and was blistering down the right wing.

“I reckon I showed the people at the game what I can do and hopefully Arnie has seen it. If not, then I can’t really say much,” said Irankunda, who was born to Burundian parents in a Tanzanian refugee camp.

Irankunda, who is joining Bayern on a long-term contract, played down his nerves over the big move.

“I’m not too excited, but I’m excited at the same time,” he said.

“It’s gonna be great to try something new. One of the best clubs in the world.”

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