Graham Arnold will take an inexperienced Socceroos squad to face South Korea in next month’s friendly in Busan as preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying ramp up.
Of the 24 players named by Arnold today, only six have played ten games for the national side, and just as many players are yet to make their Australian debuts.
Amongst the potential debutants are Sydney FC duo Andrew Redmayne and Brandon O’Neill. The pair are two of four Sky Blues – and 11 A-League players – in the side following their grand final victory over Perth last weekend, Rhyan Grant and Josh Brillante being the others
Melbourne Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas, Stoke City’s 20-year-old defender Harry Soutar, winger Ryan Williams and striker Brandon Borrello round out the uncapped contingent.
The Glory themselves have two players in the squad, defender Matthew Spiranovic and forward Chris Ikonomidis, but there was no place for Jason Davidson despite his excellent performances for Tony Popovic’s side this season.
Instead, Brad Smith makes his return to the Australian set-up after a stint on the outer. The left-back was a regular in the last World Cup qualifying campaign under Ange Postecoglou, but has since fallen behind the likes of Aziz Behich in the pecking order. Behich has also been included in this squad.
Arnold said his side’s first game since the end of the Asian Cup earlier this year gives him an opportunity to provide a number of players with some much-needed international experience.
“Our World Cup qualification campaign preparations start now. The upcoming camp and friendly international in Korea Republic provides us the opportunity to expose more players to international football, which is vital as we prepare for a long qualification campaign,” he said.
“We have seen how arduous the previous World Cup path was for our squad and it is imperative that we spend this valuable time together to have a close look and some of our next generation.”
“We have 11 players in this squad who have all had excellent seasons in the domestic competition and my message to those playing in the A-League is that if you are playing regularly and consistently for your club, you will come into consideration for the next phase of World Cup qualifiers.”
The omission of a host of Socceroos regulars was no knock on those players, with the familiar names missing from today’s squad still firmly in line to play a key role for Australia once World Cup qualifying gets underway.
“The last couple of years has been tough on many of our senior players with little rest in between seasons. I know what those guys are capable of and I believe it is important they start their new campaigns with fresh bodies and minds. They will all be considered again for our first round of qualifiers in September,” Arnold said.
Socceroos squad for friendly vs Korea Republic on June 7
|Mustafa Amini||5 (0)|
|Terry Antonis||3 (0)|
|Aziz Behich||35 (2)|
|Brandon Borrello||0 (0)|
|Joshua Brillante||5 (0)|
|Thomas Deng||1 (0)|
|Craig Goodwin||3 (0)|
|Rhyan Grant||7 (0)|
|Chris Ikonomidis||12 (2)|
|James Jeggo||1 (0)|
|Matthew Jurman||7 (0)|
|Mitch Langerak||8 (0)|
|Awer Mabil||9 (4)|
|Brandon O’Neill||0 (0)|
|Dimitri Petratos||2 (0)|
|Andrew Redmayne||0 (0)|
|Brad Smith||19 (0)|
|Harry Souttar||0 (0)|
|Matthew Spiranovic||35 (0)|
|Adam Taggart||8 (4)|
|Lawrence Thomas||0 (0)|
|Rhys Williams||14 (0)|
|Ryan Williams||0 (0)|
|Bailey Wright||23 (1)|
The Socceroos’ friendly against South Korea will be played in Busan on Friday, June 7, with kick-off scheduled for 9pm (AEST).