Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says their strong Hyundai A-League form and ability to fit into the Socceroos’ new style was the catalyst behind surprise international re-calls for Mitch Nichols and Aaron Mooy.
The midfield duo were on Wednesday included in a 23-man squad for the upcoming friendly against Japan in Osaka on November 18.
Sydney FC young gun Terry Antonis – who had to withdraw from last month’s squad in the Middle East due to injury – also gets another chance in the Green and Gold as part of five changes to the group that played against UAE and Qatar.
Nichols, Mooy and Antonis have been in blistering form for the club’s over the first month of the Hyundai A-League and Postecoglou now wants to see if they can transfer that onto the international stage.
“I’ve been very impressed with the A-League the first few weeks and I think the standards gone up another level,” the Socceroos boss told reporters.
“It’s a good indicator for me if players are doing well in the A-League then they won’t look out of place at the next level.
“I’ve known Mitch (Nichols) for a very long time, he has some of the attributes that will fit into our style of play. Whether that will happen at international level will be his test.
“It’s the same with young Aaron (Mooy), he’s had a solid start to his season at Melbourne City and he has some of the attributes in the game we want to play.
“It’s as much about saying for all players if your form warrants it in the A-League you’ll get looked at in the international perspective. Those two and Terry Antonis are the first cabs off the rank.”
Despite this being the last friendly before the Asian Cup gets underway in January, Postecoglou admitted he’s still trying to broaden his playing depth rather than settle on a final squad for the massive tournament on home soil.
He resisted the urge to re-call veteran goal-keeper Ante Covic despite his heroics in helping Western Sydney Wanderers FC to the AFC Champions League crown.
Club Brugge gloveman Mat Ryan remains the No.1, with Mitch Langerak his deputy.
“No one gets discounted but I’m very mindful of regeneration we have already stared,” Postecoglou said when asked about Covic.
"The reality of it is, this is a four-year cycle and we've got to pick players we are confident are going to be part of the program for the next four years.
"Again, it doesn't rule out anyone. But having said that I think Matty Ryan has had a pretty extraordinary start to his season as well, playing in a team that's challenging for domestic honours and in the Europa League. I think he's grown in stature as a goalkeeper.
“And Mitch Langerak at least did get a game last week for Dortmund. Every selection I make has to be against the backdrop of us building a side for the next four years."
The other two players to earn re-calls to the squad were Brisbane Roar midfielder Matt McKay and winger Robbie Kruse.
Adam Federici, Bernie Ibini, Tomi Juric and Brad Smith were all left out after playing against the UAE and Qatar while Tommy Oar wasn’t considered due to injury.