Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou says the timing of these FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and UAE contributed to him taking less risks in his squad selection.
There are no uncapped players for the two matches next month, while veteran striker Tim Cahill is the only Hyundai A-League-based player included in the 23.
The Hyundai A-League doesn’t get underway until October, meaning the likes of Josh Risdon, Matt McKay, Jason Geria, Jamie Maclaren and James Troisi weren’t genuinely considered.
Instead Postecoglou has gone with a core group of players who are playing regularly at their clubs and fully fit.
“When we look at our games last year in September, October, whilst the performances were ok it was really evident to us that players that came in underdone really struggled,” he said.
“In coming up with this squad we’re probably only taking risks with a couple of players, Maybe Timmy [Cahill] and Mark Milligan haven’t played competitive football as yet but both of those we know will be able to cope with what we do.
“But the rest of them we’re pretty happy with where they are at. It helps that they have started their season strong and are playing but also in good physical condition.”
Whilst Cahill hasn’t played in almost a month since leaving Chinese Super League club Hangzhou Greentown, Postecoglou said he was always going to pick Australia’s greatest-ever goal-scorer.
“Speaking to Timmy he feels pretty comfortable with it. He obviously has to get settled and training with his club and we’ll look at him closer to the date,” Postecoglou said.
“He’s still pretty important in what we do and even if he’s not capable of playing 90 minutes he’s can still make an impact for us.”