Josh Risdon returns to the Caltex Socceroos fold as Hyundai A-League newcomers Western United receive their first international call up for Australia.
The 27-year-old flyer will likely battle Sydney FC right-sider Rhyan Grant for a place in Graham Arnold’s starting defence as the Green and Gold continue their bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022™.
Grant’s Sky Blues teammate Andrew Redmayne completes the Hyundai A-League contingent as Arnold’s side seek a fourth straight win in Group B in the second round of Asian qualifying on the road to Qatar.
After victories against Kuwait, 3-0, Nepal, 5-0, and Chinese Taipei, 7-1, the Caltex Socceroos fly to the Middle East once more to face Jordan on Friday, 15 November AEDT.
Rejuvenated Risdon rewarded for strong start to 2019/20
Risdon has been an ever-present in Western United’s inaugural season, having been deployed at right wing-back in head coach Mark Rudan five-man defensive line in their first four games.
The Western Australian collected the last of his 14 international caps in the AFC Asian Cup opener against Oman in January 2019, where he was withdrawn with a groin injury at half-time.
He aggravated the issue on his return to Western Sydney Wanderers, in a 5-1 defeat against Newcastle Jets on February 1st, which shut down the rest of his 2018/19 campaign.
After inking a two-year deal with the Hyundai A-League newcomers, Risdon made his debut in the 2019/20 season opening 1-0 win against Wellington Phoenix and has since caught the eye of Caltex Socceroos’ coach Arnold.
“It’s what we’re looking for, it’s competition for places,” said Arnold.
“It builds a healthy environment. Josh has done exceptionally well at Western United.
“Mark Rudan has got him extremely fit and strong and he’s been doing well very at the start of the season.
“He comes back into the squad and it gives me two great players for one position in Rhyan Grant and himself. It’s what we’re looking for.”
Sydney FC stars becoming Caltex Socceroo stalwarts
Since replacing Risdon at half-time in the United Arab Emirates 10 months ago, Grant is the only Australian player who has not missed a single minute of Caltex Socceroos action.
The career Sky Blue, who has racked up 141 Hyundai A-League appearances over 11 seasons, is the incumbent in the right-back slot, meaning Risdon will need to battle his way back into contention.
Redmayne, made his one and only international appearance in the June friendly in Korea Republic, offers competition to long-time number one Mat Ryan and the recalled Adam Federici of Stoke City.
Jamie Maclaren, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win against Nepal, had been selected in previous FIFA World Cup qualifying squads but, having sat out Melbourne City’s last two games with a hamstring injury, the striker misses out on the trip to Jordan.