Cristian Volpato, Socceroos squad, Graham Arnold, international allegiance, Italy, latest, updates

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Teenage sensation Cristian Volpato has opened up on his decision to turn down a spot in Australia’s World Cup squad, insisting that any decision on his international future “risks being extremely premature”.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold confirmed he had offered Volpato a spot in the 26-man squad bound for Qatar amid several phone calls between the pair in the days leading up to the announcement.

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And with just hours to go, the Roma midfielder informed Arnold he would not be taking up the opportunity.

It led to some confusion on social media as to why the 18-year-old, who is also eligible to represent Italy, would turn down a trip to the World Cup.

But Volpato took to Instagram to elaborate as to why he will be watching the showpiece event from afar.

“I’ve seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level: the truth is that I am still just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma,” Volpato said.

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“Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.

“There will be plenty of time for me to take the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be on continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player.

“For now, it’s time to focus on the game against Sassuolo!”

Although Volpato has shelved his international future for the time being, Arnold — who is extremely unlikely to remain in his post when the 2026 World Cup rolls around — holds out hope the teen may eventually don the green and gold down the line.

“You’ve got to understand that it’s a big decision for the kid, he made that decision and he declined our opportunity to come to play for Australia at the World Cup,” Arnold told Fox Sports News.

“It doesn’t mean that he won’t do that in the future.

“He’s a young kid, he’s just starting out in his journey of football. He’s a beautiful kid and I understand the tough decision he had to make and we move on.”

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