Analysis: Ange's latest Caltex Socceroos squad

New faces, players returning to the national team fold and a core group of established stars – Ange Postecoglou’s latest Caltex Socceroos squad has it all.
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New faces, players returning to the national team fold and a core group of established stars – Ange Postecoglou’s latest Caltex Socceroos squad has it all.

The boss trimmed his Socceroos squad to 23 players this week ahead of upcoming and crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq (in Tehran) next week and UAE (in Sydney) the week after. 

So what are the key learnings from this latest squad? Let’s take a closer look…

Hyundai A-League shines bright

Ange has shown he is prepared to pick players who are in form and playing regularly, and he’s proved true to his word with six A-League stars making the final 23-man squad.

Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Riley McGree (Adelaide United), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC) and Rhys Williams (Perth Glory) were all named in Postecoglou’s latest squad.

And with a host of other players in the squad cutting their teeth in Australia’s domestic competition throughout their careers, the A-League is proving its worth as a platform for players to blossom into international footballers.

Rhys Williams has joined Charlton Athletic on loan from Middlesborough.

Is Troisi Australia’s X-Factor?

With Tom Rogic sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury, questions have been asked about Australia’s creativity in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy. 

Enter James Troisi. 

The Melbourne Victory playmaker has been in scintillating touch over the last month and celebrated his call-up with a stunning solo goal against Glory at the weekend.

Australia’s Asian Cup hero has recaptured some of his best form under Kevin Muscat this season and could easily slot straight into the starting line-up in behind the striker.

Adelaide-born Socceroos attacker James Troisi celebrates his winner in the Asian Cup final with Jason Davidson and Massimo Luongo.

Could Grant cap a stunning rise?

After earning a maiden call-up following an impressive season with Sydney FC, Rhyan Grant is a real chance to earn a starting berth against Iraq.

With Milos Degenek and Mark Milligan the only other possible right backs in the squad, Grant’s match-fitness and super engines could see him get the nod.

Ange has shown a likeness for attacking fullbacks, an asset Grant has in spades.

Socceroos v UAE banner

Ange’s established group

With all the talk of new faces dominating the squad, Ange has shown faith in a core group of players which have been integral figures over the past 18 months.

Jedinak, Mooy, Luongo, Leckie, Kruse, Milligan, Cahill, Irvine, Ryan, Sainsbury, Wright and Smith are all names which the boss has consistently relied upon throughout the World Cup qualification campaign.

Massimo Luongo celebrates with Aaron Mooy and Brad Smith after opening the scoring against Iraq in WCQ.

Consistency key for Aussie strike force

Strikers Adam Taggart and Jamie Maclaren were two notable absentees from the initial squad, with Ange suggesting that the duo need to perform on a more consistent basis.

Glory’s Taggart (11 goals) and Roar’s Maclaren (13 goals) have enjoyed successful campaigns in the A-League but Postecoglou insists international football is a different proposition, especially for strikers.

Both remain in contention for future squads but the likes of Cahill, Juric, Troisi and Leckie will be trusted with delivering the goals this time around.

Striker Jamie Maclaren on the training ground with the Caltex Socceroos.

The Caltex Socceroos tackle UAE in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in Sydney on March 28.   Click here for tickets.