I only met Murray Shaw for the first time a few months back as we sat on a panel at the Football Writer’s Festival in Jamberoo.
It’s been four months since the Socceroos bowed out of the Asian Cup in a disappointing performance, so now coach Graham Arnold rightfully wishes to use the friendly against South Korea to build his squad depth ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
Should Arnold wish to experiment, below is a 23-man squad featuring players who are yet to make their Socceroos debut or who have been out of the national team for a while. The only exception is Matt Ryan, who is there to take the captain’s armband and lead this new-look squad. He is probably the best fit for the armband due to his experience and consistent performances in a Socceroos shirt.
Mathew Ryan (c), Paul Izzo, Andrew Redmayne
Redmayne was sensational in the grand final and was part of the 2017-18 A-League premiership-winning squad coached by Arnold. Paul Izzo enjoyed another solid campaign and is a former Olyroo, so he deserves his chance as well.
Mathew Millar, Fran Karacic, Harry Souttar, Thomas Deng, George Timotheou, Connor Chapman, Jason Davidson, Brad Smith
Millar finished second in the A-League for assists despite being deployed as a defender and playing with one of the worst teams in A-League history. Karacic regularly gets first-team football in Croatia and should receive his chance.
Souttar and Deng both did well for the Olyroos in defence and are earning regular team football at their clubs. Timotheou is breaking into Schalke’s first team and Chapman joins Western United after two successful years in Korea.
Former Socceroos left backs Brad Smith and Jason Davidson are both finding form at their clubs. They should both be given another opportunity.
Aiden O’Neill, Keanu Baccus, Brandon O’Neill, Jesse Curran, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree (vc)
Aiden O’Neill and Keanu Baccus featured regularly in midfield for their A-League clubs and were also part of the Olyroos earlier this year. Brandon O’Neill had another fantastic season for Sydney FC and should earn his chance for the Socceroos. Jesse Curran played over 30 appearances in Scotland in a number of positions in midfield and defence.
Hrustic has started earning minutes in Holland and could earn a second chance. Riley McGree was Melbourne City’s joint highest goalscorer this A-League season and the captain of the Olyroos. He should certainly be called up.
Daniel Arzani, Brandon Borrello, Adam Taggart, Dylan Wenzel Halls, Craig Goodwin, Reno Piscopo
Daniel Arzani has just recently started training with Celtic after tearing his ACL and is looking sharp. Brandon Borrello is also starting to find his feet in Germany, with four assists in his past three games in the Regionalliga Sudwest. Taggart is in red-hot form in Korea and should earn another Socceroos call-up.
Wenzel-Halls enjoyed a fine debut season in the A-League and could get a chance. Goodwin finished the A-League season with ten goals and nine assists, such form deserves a Socceroos call-up. Reno Piscopo is managing to get regular game time in the Serie C and was also part of the Olyroos earlier this year.
What’s more, should these players deliver, Arnold could have a hard time figuring out his best squad for the World Cup qualifiers in September. Hopefully depth won’t be an issue.