Ibini named in Socceroos squad for Asian friendlies

Bernie Ibini will get a chance to earn his first cap for Australia after the Sydney FC striker was named in Ange Postecoglou's 23-man squad to play in next month's friendlies against UAE and Qatar. 

Ibini is the only uncapped player in the side, with Postecoglou hoping to name a settled squad for the Japan match in November ahead of the 2015 Asian Cup two months later.

The towering attacker's selection has already caused ripples in Sydney FC who will lose the 22-year-old for the start of the A-league season.

Meanwhile Western Sydney Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley in is line to make his first Socceroos appearance in six years.

The 29-year-old has just three caps to his name and last featured for the national team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But impressive form at club level has put him back on Postecoglou's radar.

All up four A-league players have been named including Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan and Wanderers hitman Tomi Juric.

Turkey-based five-time Socceroo Aziz Behich makes a return to the green and gold, but among the noticeable absentees are Bailey Wright, Robbie Kruse and Terry Antonis.

Kruse was back on the bench for Bayer Leverkusen after a long injury lay-off, while Antonis came on as a second-half substitute in Sydney's 3-1 FFA Cup win over Sydney United on Tuesday. The 20-year-old was forced to withdraw from the previous Socceroos squad with a hamstring strain.

The Socceroos face fellow Asian Cup teams UAE in Abu Dhabi on Friday October 10 and Qatar in Doha on Tuesday October 14 as Postecoglou continues to give players an opportunity at international level.

“We are still giving players we’ve identified for the national team an opportunity to experience international football to ensure we create a deeper pool of players to call on for the Asian Cup and beyond,” Postecoglou said.

“These two games give us a few more to throw into the mix with an experienced core group of players to see how they cope with the training intensity and the demands of international football before we start monitoring them all leading into the Japan match.

“We will be in a position to select a settled squad for the Japan match in November, which will offer a strong indication of where we are at leading into the Asian Cup although players can always come into the squad with strong form and fitness at club level.”

The squad includes 14 players from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The matches take place at the same time as the opening round of the Hyundai A-League 2014/15 season and Postecoglou admitted to a balancing act between the local competition and the needs of the national.

“We were mindful that the matches coincide with the first weekend of the A-League and we tried to not be too disruptive but ultimately this is our National team and everyone agrees this is the highest honour in the game and we will always pick players deserving of that honour,” Postecoglou said.

The 23-man Socceroos squad is:

BEHICH Aziz (Bursaspor, Turkey)   
BRESCIANO Mark(Al Gharafa, Qatar)
BRILLANTE Josh(ACF Fiorentina, Italy)
CAHILL Tim (New York Red Bulls, USA)
DAVIDSON Jason (West Bromwich Albion, England)
FEDERICI Adam (Reading FC, England)
FRANJIC Ivan (FK Torpedo Moskva, Russia)
HERD Chris (Bolton Wanderers FC, England)
HOLLAND James (FK Austria Vienna, Austria)
IBINI-ISEI Bernie (Sydney FC, Australia)
JEDINAK Mile (Crystal Palace FC, England)
JURIC Tomi (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia)
LANGERAK Mitch (gk, B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, Germany)
LECKIE Mathew (FC Ingolstadt 04, Germany)
LUONGO Massimo (Swindon Town , England)
MILLIGAN Mark (Melbourne Victory, Australia)
OAR Tommy (FC Utrecht, Netherlands)
RYAN Mat (gk, Club Brugge, Belgium)
SAINSBURY Trent (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands)
SMITH Brad (Swindon Town, England)
TOPOR-STANLEY Nikolai (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia)
TROISI James (S.V. Zulte Waregem, Belgium)
WILKINSON Alex (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea Republic)

UAE v Australia

October 10, 2014
Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Kick-Off 6.30pm (1.30am AEDT October 11)

Qatar v Australia
October 14, 2014
Lekhwiya Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-Off 7.30pm (3.30am AEDT October 15)

Both matches will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.