Ange: “Socceroo squad depth has improved greatly”

Today’s announcement of the provisional squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2015 signifies an exciting stage of the journey we are all currently undertaking with the Socceroos.

Since the World Cup in Brazil, we have set about trying to broaden the base of players to provide more depth for the Socceroos. Players have been given an opportunity to impress and show their wares on the international stage against some quality opposition in testing conditions.

The result is a list of 46 players that we have submitted as a provisional squad for the AFC Asian Cup.

The squad, which does need to be trimmed to 23 as we get closer, illustrates the strategy since Brazil of exposing more players to international football so we go into the Asian Cup in better shape than leading into the World Cup.

I’m far more comfortable with this extended squad than at the same time leading into the World Cup. We have more depth across all positions and most of them have been with us on the journey over the last six months.

We have experience and have also included a few players with one eye to the future. For some of the younger guys, the Asian Cup may come a little early but they can rest assured that they have the opportunity to play a part in the next four-year cycle, leading into the 2018 World Cup.

That being said, the door is still open for all 46 players announced today.

There is three weeks until we are required to nominate the final squad and we’ll be watching every game they play and will continue to monitor their progress on a daily basis.

Of course, the glittering prize we are all chasing is the Asian Cup. A once in a generation opportunity for these players to play in a major tournament on home soil; in front of family and friends and in front of the Australian sporting public.

It is now up to these 46 men to rise to the occasion and grasp what is in front of them. First task is to make the squad and then we will all unite to represent Australia with pride in the Asian Cup.

These are incredibly exciting times for Australian football and we look forward to taking everyone on the journey.