Mile Jedinak

The Socceroos’ captain and an inspirational powerhouse in the centre of the park. He skippered the nation at Brazil 2014 and at Asian Cup 2015 – his leadership one of the reasons why Australia were victorious on home soil in the region’s showpiece event.

Jedinak’s rise through the professional ranks has been one of the most interesting stories in Australian football in recent years.

In the space of two years, the quietly spoken midfielder went from State League footballer to Socceroo.

Not that he was foreign to national teams, featuring for Australia at the 2003 World Youth Championships in the UAE.

He signed a full-time contract with the Mariners in 2006, and was an integral player in its inaugural Premiership in 2008.

Rewarded with a call up to the national team, Jedinak made his debut in Singapore in March 2008.

His brilliant form in the second half of the 2008-09 season secured a move to Turkish club Genclerbirligi in January 2009, and he then took a loan move to Antalyaspor at the start of the 09/10 season, playing regularly for his new club ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

His one game in South Africa was unfortunately in Australia’s 4-0 opening game loss to Germany, but Jedinak’s progression continued seeing him move to English Championship side Crystal Palace ahead of the 2011-12 season.

Jedinak became captain of the side and led them back to the English Premier League after winning promotion through the Championship playoffs at the end of the 2012-13 season.

He scored two goals at the 2011 Asian Cup and another when Australia beat Oman in a World Cup qualifier in late 2011 before remaining a part of the squad as they qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he led the side brilliantly. He also kept his head to score a penalty against Holland.