Erik Paartalu and Mat Ryan have been named in their first Qantas Socceroos squad, while Mark Bresciano has earned a return to the national team.
Qantas Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has announced a squad which can best be described as a blend of youth and experience for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier with Saudi Arabia on February 29 at AAMI Park.
Brisbane Roar midfielder Erik Paartalu and Central Coast and Australian Under 23s goalkeeper Mat Ryan are the debutants in the squad while Melbourne Heart-s Michael Marrone has also been selected by Holger Osieck and despite having been in a Socceroos squad is yet to make his on-pitch debut for Australia.
Paartalu in particular had been tipped to be selected for the match - such has been his form for the Roar, but Ryan getting the nod as the No2 keeper comes as somewhat of a surprise.
Though he has been the form keeper of the Hyundai A-League thus far in season 2011/12 and done well when representing the Under 23s in their spluttering London 2012 campaign, it is a surprise that Osieck has included him ahead of European-based keepers Nathan Coe and Adam Federici.
As for Schwarzer seeing him return for the game is a major boost for ticketholders who want to see some of the biggest names in Australia football show their wares and it also shows just how serious he is about representing the Socceroos all the way through to Brazil 2014.
Schwarzer will be joined in the squad by other Qantas Socceroos veterans including Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, Sasa Ognenovski, David Carney and captain Lucas Neill in what appears to be a strong side.
Of most interest would have to be the inclusion Carney who has played precious little football in the last few months of his club career.
And while Carney hasn-t had much football, a returning Mark Bresciano has had plenty for Al Nasr and returns to the Socceroos fold for the first time since requesting his leave from the national team in 2010.
At the time Bresciano told Australia Football Weeklythe following
"At the moment I asked if I can have a bit of time off and I won't be going to the Asian Cup (2011)."
The squad in its entirety is as follows:
Lucas Neill (c), Mark Schwarzer (GK), Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Nicky Carle, David Carney, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, Michael Marrone, Mark Milligan, Jade North, Sasa Ognenovski, Erik Paartalu, Mathew Ryan (GK), Adam Sarota, Matthew Spiranovic, Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite, James Troisi.
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