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Tommy Oar is in line to become the youngest capped Socceroo since Harry Kewell in 1996 after being named in Pim Verbeek’s squad for next month’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait.
The diminutive Brisbane Roar winger, who turned 18 on December 10, has been rewarded for an outstanding A-League season with his first call-up.
And Verbeek said the 170cm Oar, who tips the scales at 64kg, has a good chance of starting the January 6 showdown.
“He is a fantastic attacking player, he has skill, he is fast, he is a good crosser of the ball and he has guts to go one on one against defenders,” said Verbeek in Sydney on Tuesday.
“There is definitely a chance he could play, probably 50-50.
“He is is doing very well for his club, is young, very talented and we will find out how he copes with the pressure, but if you are young enough you are good enough – it will be a good experience for him.”
Verbeek will take his side to Dubai on December 27 for a training camp before flying to Kuwait City on January 4, to try to secure the win that will ensure qualification for the 2011 tournament in Qatar.
In addition to Oar, the Dutchman has also called up Melbourne Victory midfielder Matthew Kemp and Perth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi for the first time, with 15 A-League players named in the squad.
After being on the outer Melbourne striker Archie Thompson gets a recall for the first time in almost a year while Sydney FC defender Simon Colosimo gets a call-up after last playing for the Socceroos in early 2007.
Verbeek has been boosted by the availability of eight European-based players due to the mid-season winter break including three from Turkey, but decided not to call-up Harry Kewell.
He said the decision not to name Kewell is because the in-form Galatasaray striker would be better served being rested ahead of a big 2010, culminating in the World Cup in South Africa.
“Players like Harry play so many games, Champions League, Europa League,” he said.
“It (the match day against Kuwait) is not an official FIFA date so you have to request the players from the clubs.
“I think it is much better for Harry to have a rest and them be ready for the new year.”
Kuwait won the last game between the sides in Canberra in March 2008 and Verbeek said he is expecting a difficult encounter against the team who share the lead in Group B with his side.
“We only need one win to qualify and this will be a very difficult game,” he said.
“Kuwait are organised, unpredictable and very tough as they showed in Canberra.”
Verbeek was coy about whether or not any of the A-League players had a genuine chance of making a late challenge for a place in his final World Cup squad.
However, he did hint that a good performance against Kuwait and taking the chance to head overseas at the end of the season in February could work in their favour.
“With five months to go until the squad is selected it does not mean if a player is playing well now he will go to the World Cup,” he said.
“It will be an advantage to him if they can show they can handle the pressure.
“I am not going to advise players to do anything, they know full well what is going on and until I decide on the final 22 for the World Cup everybody has a chance.
“If they think they will be selected if they go to the beach then that is up to them, but if they want to go to Europe it is up to them, I have made my point before.”
Youngest Socceroo internationals:
Name Age Date Opponent
Duncan Cummings 17y 139d Aug 1975 China
George Christopoulos 17y 182d June 1978 Greece
Harry Kewell 17y 214d April 1996 Chile
Paul Kay, 17y 284d Feb 1980 Papua New Guinea
Jim Patikas 17y 316d Aug 1981 Indonesia
John Karaspyros 18y 101d June 1978 Greece
Brett Woods 18y 148d Aug 1981 Indonesia
Ian Johnston 18y 154d Nov 1965 Cambodia
Ian Hunter 18y 200d Feb 1980 Papua New Guinea Lucas Neill 18y 214d Oct 1996 Saudi Arabia