Jimmy Jeggo's transformation into a genuine holding midfielder with Sturm Graz was critical to his selection in Ange Postecoglou's latest Caltex Socceroos squad.
Jeggo, 24, has started every match in the Austrian Bundesliga this season as Sturm Graz have surged to the top of the table, and his form as a defensive midfielder has seen him named in the Socceroos for the first time.
Australia will visit Saudi Arabia on October 6 and then travel to Melbourne to host Japan five days later as the final group phase of Asian World Cup qualifying continues.
Speaking at the squad announcement on Tuesday, Postecoglou indicated that he's still looking for a player from the next generation to put pressure on regular defensive midfielders Mile Jedinak, 32, and Mark Milligan, 31.
"He's [Jeggo] playing in a team that's top of the table. I've watched every one of his games and he's looked pretty strong," Postecoglou said in Melbourne.
"He's fit, he's playing as a six - a very deep-lying midfielder - and it's an area, where at the moment we've got Mile and obviously 'Millsy', who can play there, but not a lot below that in terms of guys coming through.
"We're getting quite a few as attacking midfielders, so - like I said - it made sense to have a look at him because he's in good form and he's fit."
Jeggo, Sparta Rotterdam's Craig Goodwin and Preston North End's Bailey Wright were the additions to Postecoglou's squad compared to the group that took on Iraq and United Arab Emirates in World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
Nathan Burns (FC Tokyo), Apo Giannou (Guangzhou R&F) and Josh Risdon (Perth Glory) have missed out.
Goodwin has started solidly in the Eredivisie, making five appearances for recently-promoted Sparta as a left winger and scoring one goal.
Postecoglou wants another look at the 24-year-old considering three of his wide attacking options - Burns, Robbie Kruse and Chris Ikonomidis - haven't played much recently.
"He's had a decent start to his career over there. He's going ok," Australia's boss said.
"But it's an area of the park where we're still a little bit thin in terms of just getting players, who have regular game time."
Goodwin missed Sparta's match over the weekend with what Postecoglou described as "a minor knock" but the latter has no doubt the former Adelaide United flyer should be fit for next month's international matches.
Postecoglou also dismissed concerns surrounding goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who hurt his knee training with Valencia last week.
"The reports from the medical team in Valencia is that he should be back training next week and should be available for selection the weekend before our camp," he said.
"So if he's available for selection for them, he's available for selection for us."
Heat, humidity, altitude and air miles: what the Caltex Socceroos can expect on the road to Qatar
The Caltex Socceroos? road to Qatar 2022 is likely to be a long and winding one, featuring intense heat, humidity, altitude and countless air miles. Having received a bye through their first round of Asian Football Confederation qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2022, Graham Arnol
‘I’m loving being back’: Behich beams about return to Turkey
Caltex Socceroos defender Aziz Behich has his sights set on Champions League football with new club ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir FK after making a ?smooth transition? back into Turkish Football. After spending last season in Holland at PSV Eindhoven, Behich has returned to Turkey where
Gary van Egmond names maiden Young Socceroos squad
New Young Socceroos Head Coach Gary van Egmond today named his maiden squad in charge of Australia?s under-20 men?s national football team. Van Egmond has selected 30 players for a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from Sunday, 28 July 2019 to Fri
Behich: Caltex Socceroos can ‘make a statement in Asia’ on the road to Qatar
Aziz Behich has vowed the Caltex Socceroos are ready to ?make a statement in Asia? during their FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign. The group stage of the second round of Asian Football Confederation qualifiers was drawn on Wednesday night and pitted Australia up against