Today we analyse Qantas Socceroos hopefuls from Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix.
With the Qantas Socceroos- next battle with Saudi Arabia just around the corner on February 29 at AAMI Park, we thought it was time to profile some of the Hyundai A-League stars in contention for selection.
With Australia-s path to the next stage of qualification already assured and top of the group also locked away there is the chance Socceroos coach Holger Osieck may give some Hyundai A-League players the chance to shine in the green and gold.
With that in mind today we are taking a look at players from Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC, Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix
Ryan Griffiths (Striker): The Newcastle Jets striker is one half of the most potent strike-force in the Hyundai A-League along with All Whites star Jeremy Brockie.
Between the two they have banged in 17 goals thus far this season (Griffiths has eight of those). His pace and experience are both huge assets, as is his ability to get in behind the line via well-timed angled runs.
Griffiths has been a prolific goal-scorer at every professional club he has ever been at, but sadly that hasn-t transferred to the national team. In five appearances (the last of which was in 2008) he has failed to find the net.
Ben Kantarovski (Midfielder): The Australia Under 20s captainhas been in impressive form for the Jets of late and is still the youngest player to represent the Jets in the A-League at 15 years of age.
His talent is of course immense and having been called-up to Socceroos train-on squads in the past he might be a chance to make his full international debut under Holger Osieck.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Defender): While he might be considered a bolter for selection given some of the depth and experience the Qantas Socceroos have in central defence, little can be said to dispute the imposing Jets defender is in form.
At 1.91 metres he is also a huge target in the air and can be used to great effect on attacking set pieces. His ability to always find himself in the right position is also vital, especially when defending corners.
Topor-Stanley has just two Socceroos caps so far, but at 25 he appears ready to add to those.
Jobe Wheelhouse (Midfielder): The Jets captain has plenty of grit to his game and is capable of playing the enforcer role deep in midfield a la Vincenzo Grella as well as providing even distribution of the ball to his fellow midfielders.
Well regarded as a team player, Wheelhouse has come into his own this season, scoring three goals, most of them coming during Newcastle-s surge into the Hyundai A-League top six.
Travis Dodd (Midfielder): Able to play on the left or right side of the field. Dodd obviously possesses great versatility but his experience could also be vital if a largely young team is selected by Holger Osieck.
After a slow start to his career at the Glory, Dodd has recently come into his own scoring in two of his last four matches and leading the Glory-s assist numbers.
An A-League staple, Dodd has represented his country twice, scoring one goal.
Dean Heffernan (Defender): After a protracted length of time away, Heffernan finally returned home to Australia to take up a role in defence with the Glory and has impressed in his two starts to date, but more importantly than this Heffernan is a left back.
As such he is in a position to try and make himself a permanent fixture in a position that remains a trouble spot for the Qantas Socceroos.
Recently Heffernan has donned the green and gold in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2009/10 and never actually been in a losing Australia side, if he has come home for an opportunity, there may be no bigger one available.
Brett Emerton (Midfielder): Sydney-s marquee man is a Socceroos staple and barring injury it would be unthinkable that he will not be part of Osieck-s side.
Renowned for his huge workrate on the field as well as his ability to beat opponents with pace and sheer determination, Emerton also has an eye for goal and has proven time and time again he is not afraid to take his chances.
Emerton has 89 caps for his country and has bagged 18 goals in an impressive career at international level.
Nicky Carle (Midfielder): Arguably the Sky Blues best player in their current campaign, his team have looked sharper with him on the field than they have without his silky skills on show.
Not only known for his ability to deliver a great assist, his talent for poaching a goal by being in the right position is known to anyone who has watched his sometimes sporadic career unfold.
Sadly for Carle, his Socceroos career thus far is yet to yield any goals from his 12 matches, but with a new manager in charge of the team he may get another opportunity to resurrect his flagging international career and with his form at club level shining bright now is his time.
Michael Beauchamp (Defender): Having represented Australia at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Beauchamp knows what it takes to play at the highest level and would be well and truly on Holger Osieck-s radar for the match against Saudi Arabia.
Hard-nosed and strong in the air, Beauchamp-s no-nonsense approach has won him plenty of fans at home and abroad and he must be considered for selection.
Andrew Durante (Defender): Given Durante has never played for the Socceroos and will become eligible for the All Whites in 2013, this may never happen, even if he is selected... but the Phoenix skipper is amongst the best defenders in the A-League and has to be included in this list.
His assured touch and calm influence at the back is a big reason as to why the Phoenix are doing so well in the current A-League season, but whether he could transfer that to an entirely new team with new teammates remains to be seen.
Think we missed anyone from these four clubs, or want to have your say on who you think deserves a start? Then leave a comment below
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