Time is running out for Australia to secure Panos Armenakas’ international future.
The 20 year-old midfielder made his debut for Panathinaikos at the weekend, coming on in the 76th minute as Panathinaikos defeated Apollon Smyrni 3-1 on the road.
The California-born Armenakas also has citizenship in the US, as well Greece, whom he’s represented at youth level.
Given his technical quality and speed, he presents a solid case for an Olyroos call-up. Armenakas featured alongside Daniel Arzani for Australia’s U-17s at the FIFA World Cup in 2015 in Chile, and was subsequently named by The Guardian as being among the top fifty best young talents in the world.
Prior to signing with Panathinkaikos, he signed a three-year deal with Serie A team Udinese, becoming the youngest Australian ever to sign a professional contract in any of the top five leagues in Europe.
In Italy in 2017, he was the star in the club’s youth ranks (under-19 squad) where he finished the season as Udinese Primavera’s highest goal-scorer and also top in assists.
Australia cannot afford to lose a talent like Armenakas, who is believed to be weighing up whether or not to play for Australia when he has other options.
The late Les Murray was also a big advocate for Armenakas’ talents, writing many features on the up-and-comer.
“Of all the junior players I’ve seen in my time in Australia, he’s the most gifted,” said veteran SBS commentator Murray in 2014.
“Within five years my belief is he’ll play for the Socceroos. We have a generation where we don’t have many talented playmakers coming through and he’s a classic left-footed number ten.”
It’s five years since the SBS Legend said those words – maybe it’s time to bring him into camp to see his capabilities?