Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou has recalled experienced trio Robbie Kruse, Matthew Spiranovic and Mitch Langerak while including a host of upcoming talent for the games in Adelaide and Sydney later this month.
Despite overcoming Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh and boasting a record of five clean sheets, Postecoglou has decided to shake-up his squad with the introduction of three uncapped players.
Uncapped Jason Geria, Alex Gerbasch and Apostolos Giannou join the squad, alongside three youngsters in Liverpool’s Brad Smith, U.S. Salernitana’s Chris Ikonomidis and Terry Antonis of Panthrakikos, who make-up the nine changes.
The three uncapped players will be desperate to gain their first cap in Green and Gold, and Postecoglou is pleased to have the option of mixing experience with youth.
“It’s great to be able to bring experienced players like Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak and Matthew Spiranovic back into the squad after missing recent matches but it is equally exciting to see how a fresh crop of young players can fit into how we train and what we are trying to achieve,” Postecoglou said.
“We’ve worked hard on creating depth over the last two years and we now have a very solid and experienced spine to this team but we must also continually give players an opportunity if we want to make an impact on the world stage.
“This squad contains a group of young players who we are bringing in while they are in form and taking good strides forward both here in the Hyundai A-League and at various leagues around the world.
“Getting that balance between winning football matches and giving players an opportunity is something we have been doing for two years and during that time we have had success and haven’t been let down by any of the young players.”
The Socceroos go into the final two matches in this stage of FIFA World Cup Qualifying on top of Group B and will progress to the next round if they maintain their position or finish as one of the best four second-placed teams.
“We are faced with two very important World Cup Qualifiers against Tajikistan in Adelaide and then Jordan in Sydney,” Postecoglou said.
“We have seen throughout the qualifiers that these teams offer unique challenges and this will be no different.
“The primary focus for us is to make sure we continue to play our brand of football that will deliver short term success while building towards the bigger picture.
“This is the first time we have had back to back matches in Australia during this World Cup qualifying campaign and we look forward to seeing the Socceroo fans in Adelaide and Sydney come out to get behind the team.”
Socceroos 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Adam Federici, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan
Defenders: Jason Geria, Alex Gersbach, Ryan McGowan, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright
Midfielders: Terry Antonis, Chris Ikonomidis, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tommy Rogic
Forwards: Nathan Burns, Tim Cahill, Apostolos Giannou, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie