On Matchday 14 Pep Guardiola’s table-topping Manchester City take on Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur. With an extensive injury list of up to eight first-team…
Dual-nationality defender Alessandro Circati, who has rejected overtures from Italy and pledged his future to the Socceroos, has been named in Graham Arnold’s 23-man squad to take on Argentina.
Circati, who plies his trade with Serie B club Parma and has previously played for Italy’s junior teams, is the latest coup for Arnold after he called up rising Manchester City star and England youth cap Alex Robertson in March.
The 19-year-old Circati is one of two uncapped players along with Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, who has been called in at the expense of Sydney FC No.1 Andrew Redmayne for the one-off friendly in Beijing on June 15.
AS Roma’s Sydney-born playmaker Cristian Volpato, who is also eligible for Italy, is not included.
Midfielder Denis Genreau, defender Gianni Stensness and leftback Joel King have all been recalled after missing the two friendlies against Ecuador in March.
Experienced campaigners Aziz Behich, Jason Cummings, Milos Degenek, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy and Bailey Wright are all unavailable.
“Irrespective of who we played during June, I have made no secret that this window would provide a glimpse into the future,” said Arnold of a squad containing 16 players with 10 caps or fewer.
“We were always going to reward players who have had strong seasons at club level to show what they can do on the international stage.
“With the benefit of having five friendlies before our 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign starts this November, we need to use every one of these matches to prepare as best we can, as well as having one eye on January’s Asian Cup.”
This month’s friendly is the first meeting between the two sides since Argentina knocked Australia out of last year’s World Cup en route to winning the tournament.
A number of promising players, including Marco Tilio, Garang Kuol and uncapped Central Coast Mariners defender Nectar Triantis have been kept out of the Socceroos squad and will instead feature for the under-23s in the Maurice Revello Tournament in France.
The tournament is seen as a vital tune-up for Olympic qualifiers in September.
Arnold has long stressed the importance of qualifying for the Olympics, viewing next year’s Games in Paris as a key preparation tool for the 2026 World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Tom Glover, Joe Gauci
Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Jordan Bos, Alessandro Circati, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Gianni Stensness, Harry Souttar, Ryan Strain
Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Cammy Devlin, Denis Genreau, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O’Neill, Alex Robertson
Forwards: Brandon Borrello, Mitch Duke, Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie.
Meanwhile, Arnie has backed fellow Australian Ange Postecoglou to be a success at Tottenham, with that deal almost complete.
Arnold has no doubt Ange Postecoglou’s meticulous nature and savvy recruitment can yield results for Spurs as his former sparring partner nears a move to the Premier League giants.
Postecoglou is set to leave Scottish champions Celtic for Spurs in the coming days, with the north London club offering the Australian a two-year deal with incentives for a third season.
Postecoglou would be the first Australian to manage in the Premier League.
Arnold, who has coached alongside Postecoglou at national team level and against him in the A-League, says one of the 57-year-old’s greatest assets was his sharp eye in the transfer market.
Tottenham, under prudent chairman Daniel Levy, have developed a reputation for being frugal but Arnold declared Postecoglou has the ability to turn rocks into diamonds.
“I think one of Ange’s huge strengths is recruitment and attention to detail,” Arnold said, after naming his Socceroos squad for their June 15 friendly against Argentina.
“He finds players for the system he wants to play.
“I think it’s a great job for him and I think he’ll kill it.”
When he first made the move to Glasgow, Celtic fans were initially sceptical of Postecoglou’s resume.
But two seasons and five trophies later – in which he was lauded for his smart work in the transfer market – the Australian has won Celtic’s fervent supporters over.
“He’s totally obsessed with the game, it’s his life and I always knew he had that mentality of getting to the top,” Arnold said.
“He has had setbacks but you learn from those setbacks and Ange has always been determined to prove the doubters wrong and that, in a lot of ways, is his motivation.
“Me and Ange are mates and we were competitors against each other but to see what he’s doing is brilliant.”
Arnold said the rise of Postecoglou, as well as Joe Montemurro, Kevin Muscat and Patrick Kisnorbo to leagues with stronger reputations was an endorsement of the quality of Australian coaching.
“We might not be that bad, hey,” Arnold said.
“These guys will end up overseas and Ange is the leader of that pathway.
“You need someone to open the eyes of people around the world to say; ‘Australian coaches might not be so bad’. Ange has done that fantastically for all of us.”