Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has included four uncapped players for upcoming friendlies as he seeks to broaden the talent pool of the national team.
Young guns Brad Smith, Chris Herd, Trent Sainsbury and Bailey Wright have a chance to get their foot in the door of the national team in what Postecoglou called a “bold” selection.
Wright is already well on the radar having made the World Cup squad without seeing game time, while Postecoglou is keen to tie down Smith for the Socceroos after the Penrith-born Swindon Town defender represented England at youth level.
Rising A-League stars Terry Antonis and Tomi Juric also get the nod.
The squad also includes the welcome return of Robbie Kruse and past green and gold stalwart Carl Valeri.
Josh Brillante, who missed the final cut for Brazil, gets another chance to shine after a strong start with new club Fiorentina.
The 20-man squad will face Belgium and Saudi Arabia in September in preparation for the Asian Cup in January.
Postecoglou’s selection includes 12 members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final squad, including Captain Mile Jedinak and talisman Tim Cahill.
After naming the squad, Postecoglou declared Socceroos selections would continue to be bold as he builds a broader base of international players in Australia’s pursuit of becoming the best team in Asia.
“The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we’re going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity,” Postecoglou said.
“After the World Cup campaign we had a break and I had a bit of a chance to think about everything that transpired over the last six to eight months, culminating in the World Cup.
“One thing that came out, that was evident to me, is that we need to broaden our base and get some depth in various positions in our squad.
“From our perspective these games are a chance to expose some young players to international football and hopefully create some depth in areas we’re light on.
“We want a really strong squad for the Asian Cup and we are only going to get that if we have a look at some more players.”
One player that fits Postecoglou’s blueprint to broaden the base is left-sided player Brad Smith, who has been called into the Socceroos squad for the first time after making his English Premier League debut last year for Liverpool.
“Brad’s a player we have been monitoring since I’ve been in the job and he plays in a position where we don’t have a great deal of depth,” Postecoglou said.
“Brad’s a young player who is making his way in the football world. He’s contracted to Liverpool Football Club and obviously been loaned out to Swindon to get some games under his belt.
“Brad’s played for the England U21s as recently as a couple of months ago but he’s very committed to playing for Australia and after having a chat to him we are really keen to get him in the green and gold and give him an opportunity.”
Postecoglou acknowledged injuries ruled out Rhys Williams, Curtis Good, Tom Rogic, Matthew Spiranovic, Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic with experienced campaigners Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy still in line for matches in October and November ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.”
The 20-man Socceroos squad is:
The 20-man Socceroos squad is:
Terry ANTONIS (Sydney FC), Joshua BRILLANTE (ACF Fiorentina), Tim CAHILL (New York Red Bulls), Jason DAVIDSON (West Bromwich Albion), Ben HALLORAN (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Chris HERD (Aston Villa FC), Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC), Tomi JURIC (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Robbie KRUSE (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Mitchell LANGERAK (gk B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund), Matthew LECKIE (FC Ingolstadt 04), Massimo LUONGO (Swindon Town FC), Mark MILLIGAN (Melbourne Victory FC), Tommy OAR (FC Utrecht), Mat RYAN (gk Club Brugge KV), Trent SAINSBURY (PEC Zwolle), Brad SMITH (Swindon Town FC), Carl VALERI (Melbourne Victory FC), Alex WILKINSON (Jeonbuk Hyundai FC), Bailey WRIGHT (Preston North End FC).
Matches will be broadcast live on Fox Sports
Belgium v Australia
Thursday Sep 4
Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Leige
8.45pm (4.45am AEST)
Saudi Arabia v Australia
Monday September 8
Craven Cottage, London
8.00pm (5am AEST)