Postecoglou has no regrets over Kruse call-up

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says he has no regrets about calling up Robbie Kruse for the Belgium and Saudi Arabia friendlies despite overlooking the Bayer Leverkusen for his latest squad.

Kruse was a notable omission from the 23-man squad Postecoglou named on Thursday to tackle United Arab Emirates and Qatar next month in the Middle East.

The reigning Australian Footballer of the Year was a surprise call-up for the Belgium and Saudi Arabia friendlies earlier this month.

The call-up was seen as premature in some quarters, with Kruse having failed to return to competitive action following a serious knee injury which ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup.

Kruse suffered an injury setback during that Socceroos camp, and although the problem wasn’t overly serious, it forced him to return to his club early.

The 25-year-old has since worked his way back to fitness and was on Leverkusen’s bench last weekend in the Bundesliga, but it wasn’t enough to earn another call-up from Postecoglou.

“Talking to the medical department he needs to play,” Postecoglou said during a teleconference on Thursday morning.

“Once he gets at least a game or some game-time at all, then for Robbie he’ll have that confidence in himself and his body.

“I don’t want to bring him in underdone in that area.”

Postecoglou responded with a stern “no” when asked if he had any regrets about calling Kruse up for the Belgium and Saudi Arabia games.

The Australia coach added he was confident Kruse could get the required game-time at high-flying German outfit Leverkusen to warrant selection ahead of the November 18 friendly against Japan in Osaka.

“We’re quite confident between now and the Japan game he’ll get some game-time,” Postecoglou said.

“If he does that then he’ll be considered for selection.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou insisted experienced full-back Luke Wilkshire remained in the frame despite being overlooked once again.

Wilkshire, who turns 33 next week, hasn’t been included in a Socceroos squad since his surprise axing from the final 2014 World Cup squad.

The veteran has since moved to Dutch giants Feyenoord where he has been a regular in defence, to press his case for a recall.

“He’s still in the frame. Everyone is in the frame,” Postecoglou insisted.

“From my perspective we’re looking at some other guys in his position and if he keeps playing and playing well he’s always under consideration.”