Analysis: who'll start for the Socceroos in Perth?

Australia's journey continues with FIFA 2018 Russia World Cup Qualifiers™ at home to Bangladesh and away to Tajikistan next month.

After securing a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Kyrgyzstan in June, Ange Postecoglou on Wednesday announced his squad for two upcoming FIFA 2018 Russia World Cup Qualifiers™  due to take place in Perth on September 3 and in Dushanbe five days later.

Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo and Tom Rogic have all been picked after recovering from injury, while Jackson Irvine and uncapped goalkeeper Alex Cisak are among the surprise inclusions.

Stars recalled for World Cup qualifier in Perth

But who will the boss entrust with securing another important victory in what is a rare outing in front of Western Australian supporters?


Goalkeeper – Mathew Ryan

Barring an injury, 23-year-old Mathew Ryan will continue between the posts in next month's game, retaining the spot he has held without significant interruption since the retirement of Mark Schwarzer in November 2013. 

Ryan played at the World Cup, helped Australia to win the Asian Cup and secured an off-season transfer from Club Brugge to Valencia, where he is expected to play in UEFA Champions League qualifying against Monaco on Wednesday night.

The former Central Coast Mariner is Postecoglou's undisputed No.1 and that's unlikely to change for these games.


Defence – Tarek Elrich (Adelaide United), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor)

In defence Postecoglou must choose between his desire to reward incumbent players for good performances or opt for those who boast more significant match sharpness. 

At right-back, the recalled Ryan McGowan has begun the Scottish Premiership campaign for Dundee United in solid form and could warrant a start.

Up against him is Tarek Elrich, who played for the national team more recently than his rival in the friendly against Macedonia, but is still in the midst of pre-season for Adelaide United.

At centre-back Matthew Spiranovic has started the last two games for his new Chinese Super League club Hangzhou Greentown, while Alex Wilkinson has featured regularly for Jeonbuk Motors in the K-League in recent weeks, meaning Preston North End's Bailey Wright may have to make do with a spot on the bench.

Aziz Behich at Bursaspor and Huddersfield Town newcomer Jason Davidson are at similar early stages of their respective club campaigns, so perhaps Postecoglou will opt to stick with the former, who played the full match in Kyrgyzstan.


Midfield – Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Bani Yas), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers)

The coach will be happy to have Massimo Luongo available again after the energetic midfielder, a key figure in the Asian Cup triumph, missed the first qualifier through injury. 

Having started the new campaign for QPR, his presence will also be important, given of the three other likely starters, Mile Jedinak is out of favour at Crystal Palace and Mark Milligan and Matt McKay have yet to begin their domestic campaigns. 

Aaron Mooy, who struggled to make his presence felt against Macedonia, is another midfielder picked in the squad but lacking match sharpness. 

And while Jackson Irvine is featuring regularly at Ross County, the 22-year-old hasn't played for the national team since a brief substitute appearance in October 2013 and can't be expected to make an instant impact back in a green and gold shirt.

If Tom Rogic makes a long-awaited return to action for the national team, it's only likely to be as a replacement off the bench for Luongo, playing as the most advanced member of the midfield three.


Forwards – Mathew Leckie (Ingolstadt), Tim Cahill (Shanghai Shenhua), Nathan Burns (FC Tokyo)

The frontline appears relatively settled and could be unchanged from the win away to Kyrgyzstan. 

The hard-working Mathew Leckie has begun the Bundesliga season for promoted Ingolstadt and is likely to retain his place as an inside forward.

Tim Cahill is also relatively match sharp following the resumption of the Chinese Super League season, while Nathan Burns recently scored and provided an assist for FC Tokyo in the J.League.

Of the players competing to oust the current preferred front three, Cahill's understudy Tomi Juric has only just joined Roda JC in the Eredivisie and is likely to be well short of full fitness, while Tommy Oar – still without a club after leaving Utrecht – will be in a similar situation. 

Robbie Kruse is fit again and could feature off the bench in a wide attacking role after being eased back into the Bayer Leverkusen first team as a substitute in recent weeks.