Attack-minded selections, fresh faces and in-form European based stars highlight Ange Postecoglou's intent with his 23-man Caltex Socceroos squad announced today (Wed) in Sydney for two make or break World Cup qualfiers in October.
Australia kicks off its camp this weekend in Malaysia with the majority of the players arriving on Monday ahead of their first leg 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian play-off qualifier against Syria in neutral Melaka on October 5.
An infusion of new talent, some returning names and a core of the squad that have taken Australia though to this point is the mix gone with by Postecoglou.
It is a squad high on confidence from club level ahead of a tricky tie that finishes on October 10 in Sydney.
I'm very happy to see central defender Matt Jurman get his call up.
He has always been a top talent and is now showing the K-League his qualities after being a key part of Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC's campaign up until January of last season.
The tall central defender, who can boss and bully strikers, is playing regularly in a good side (Suwon Samsung Bluewings) and has always been a nuisance in opposition boxes.
Postecoglou knows him well from their days with Brisbane Roar and likes what he sees from the Wollongong talent (yet another Wollongong/South Coast player to make it to the Socceroos).
We need more goals from all parts of the pitch, not just the strikers. Big Matt will help in that regard while providing a good defensive option alongside Sainsbury, Wright and Degenek.
Attack-minded Craig Goodwin returns to the squad and the former Adelaide United star is an attacking wingback with a stinging shot.
Likewise Wanderers’ attacking full back Josh Risdon and Turkey based Aziz Behich have another chance to impress with Behich a good chance to start on the left.
But the pacy Nikita Rukyavitsya’s selection is one of the biggest talking points. He is in form with his Israeli club Maccabi Haifa and the returning Socceroo now gets a chance to add to his 13 caps (and one goal).
It’s a fresh chance for the former Perth Glory striker to reboot his Roos career after bursting onto the NT scene five years ago.
As Postecoglou says, “Ruka” adds something a little different to the attacking mix.
Add on top of these new and returning faces the goal-scoring form of Robbie Kruse, Matt Leckie and the two Toms - Rogic and Juric - and you'd like to think this is a squad that can outscore Syria.
Away goals count double so, hopefully, Australia's attacking options can make good on their potential on the heavy Hang Jebat surface, laying the platform for a successful home tie back in Sydney.
“I am confident that we have a group of players capable of achieving our goal of progressing to the next stage of qualification,” Postecoglou said.
One thing’s for sure. There’s no shortage of attacking players at his disposal for these make or break playoff qualifiers.
To purchase tickets to the home leg in Sydney (Tuesday 10 October 2017) please visit www.socceroos.com.au/tickets.