Why Hearts defender Nathaniel Atkinson was missing in Australia's World Cup match against Tunisia

Hearts defender Nathaniel Atkinson was a notable absentee from the Australia team selected to take on Tunisia on Saturday morning at the World Cup.

Australia and Hearts defender Nathaniel Atkinson, right, has an ankle injury.
Australia and Hearts defender Nathaniel Atkinson, right, has an ankle injury.

The 23-year-old right-back started the Socceroos’ Group C opener against France on Tuesday evening. Atkinson was given a stern examination by one of the world’s best players in Kylian Mbappe as the French overcame an early setback to win 4-1. However, the Launceston-born player was not in the starting XI to face the Tunisians.

This is because Atkinson hurt his ankle during the defeat by France, with the rest of his participation in the tournament in doubt. Atkinson came into the event having only just overcoming an injury and he was replaced by Fran Karacic in the team. Hearts manager Robbie Neilson will now hope that his injury is not serious, with the Jambos back in action on December 17 against Kilmarnock.

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Atkinson’s club team-mate Kye Rowles did, however, start in defence, with Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin on the bench.