It’s been four months since the Socceroos last played with Ange Postecoglou following through on his pledge to broaden the talent pool at his disposal with his latest squad.
Here are the uncapped players and recalled names that will be pushing for a starting spot when the Aussies host Tajikistan and Jordan on March 24 and 29 respectively.
Jason Geria: The Melbourne Victory defender has been called up to his first Socceroos squad having previously represented the Young Socceroos and Olyroos. There 22-year-old learnt his trade at the AIS before a short stint in Brisbane Roar’s youth ranks. Coach Ange Postecoglou knows exactly what he’ll get from the right back having handed Geria his first professional contract back in November 2012 and his form in the ACL has been eye-catching.
Alex Gersbach: The left-back signed for Norwegian outfit Rosenborg BK during the January transfer window having impressed during two seasons with Sydney FC. Gersbach is another player to have come through the AIS system and was also part of the Olyroos ill-fated qualifying campaign for the Rio Games. Still just 18 years of age, Gersbach will become the youngest Socceroo since Tommy Oar if he makes his debut.
Apostolos Giannou: The 26-year-old striker has declared his allegiance to the Socceroos following a meeting with Postecoglou in Greece. Giannou scored 13 goals for Asteras in the Greek Super League this season before recently moving to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F. The Melbourne-bred attacker has previously played under Ange in the Joeys set-up and could play against his country of birth when Australia hosts Greece in June. But first he'll want to impress in World Cup qualifiers.
Brad Smith: Another rising star who had a big decision to make on his international future Smith is already a bona fide Socceroo with four appearances to his name. The 21-year-old made his Socceroos debut in September 2014, coming off the bench in a friendly against Belgium. Smith signed a contract extension with English giants Liverpool late last year and made some valuable contributions in the Reds’ Cup runs this season.
Chris Ikonomidis: The 20-year-old midfielder is currently on loan at Italian Serie B side Salernitana from parent club Lazio. The former Sutherland Shire goal-machine left Sydney as an unknown 15-year-old after being spotted at a youth tournament in England. Ikonomidis was given his first call up for the Socceroos this time last year, ahead of friendlies with Germany and FYR Macedonia and returns to the fold with two international caps.
Terry Antonis: The attacking midfielder is on the books of Greek outfit PAOK FC, but has made just three Super League appearances following five seasons at Sydney FC. The 22-year-old earned his Socceroos debut at the EAFF East Asian Cup in 2013 where he played against Chinese Taipei, Guam and Hong Kong. Antonis was also part of the Socceroos' triumphant Asian Cup squad last year but didn’t get any minutes at the tournament.
German-based stars Robbie Kruse and Mitch Langerak are the other two faces that were not part of the Socceroos’ squad for their last pair of FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The duo are both on the comeback from long-term injuries but Postecoglou is well aware of their capabilities should they feature in Adelaide or Sydney.