Postecoglou names huge wildcard in Socceroos 30-man squad

Wildcard Nikita Rukavytsya is a shock inclusion in the Socceroos preliminary 30-man squad with coach Ange Postecoglou recalling the attacker for Australia’s do-or-die World Cup qualifiers against Syria next month.

Ange Postecoglou

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou Source: Getty Images

The 30-year-old has 13 Socceroos caps to his name, with his last appearance coming in 2013 in a friendly against Canada.

Rukavytsya, who spent the 2014-15 A-League season with the Western Sydney Wanderers, is currently plying his trade with Israeli club with Maccabi Haifa, where he has scored four goals in seven appearances in both league and cup competitions this season.

Captain Mile Jedinak has also been named to make his long-awaited return for the Socceroos in the home and away play-off clashes against Syria.

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The Socceroos face Syria in Malaysia on October 5, then again in Sydney on October 10, and must win the two-legged clash to keep their Russia 2018 hopes alive.

The 30-man preliminary squad, named on Tuesday, includes all of the players who were originally named for the recent clashes against Japan and Thailand - bar defender Matthew Spiranovic, who has been cut.

The other additions to the preliminary squad include Aziz Behich, Mark Birighitti, Craig Goodwin, James Jeggo, Matthew Jurman and Josh Risdon.

“There is a short turnaround from the last matches so we are fully focused on these upcoming fixtures against Syria,” Postecoglou said. 

“The players that we have selected for these crucial matches all have the benefit of several club matches under their belts over the past few weeks, and I am confident whichever 23 players we settle on will be able to do the job next month.

“Now that the match venues have been confirmed, we will prepare for our fixtures against Syria just like every other international opposition we faced throughout this campaign."

Behich was not part of Postecoglou's last squad despite some strong showings at the Confederations Cup with Brad Smith controversially handed a start against the Samurai Blue.

However, he has been rewarded for his good form at club level along with Goodwin, Jeggo and Birighitti, who are all playing regularly in Europe.

South Korea-based Jurman was named in Australia's last extended squad and adds depth to the defensive ranks while Risdon, who recently moved from Perth Glory to the Western Sydney Wanderers, has been on the fringes of national team selection for some time.

Postecoglou will trim the squad back to 23 players next week.

FULL 30-MAN SQUAD:
Socceroos



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3 min read
Published 19 September 2017 at 11:15am
Source: SBS The World Game