Returning Jedinak to boost Caltex Socceroos: Ange
Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou believes Mile Jedinak’s return will provide a significant boost for next month’s winner-takes-all World Cup play-off against Honduras.
The Caltex Socceroos skipper was one of three inclusions to a 25-man squad named by Postecoglou on Tuesday for the two-legged tie on November 11 (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) and November 15 (Sydney).
Jedinak hasn’t played for Australia since the 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia in March but is set to play a key role against Honduras after returning for club side Aston Villa over the weekend.
“It’s important on and off the field,” Postecoglou told FFA TV when asked about his skipper’s return.
“Mile has been a big presence since I took over but we haven’t had a lot of him over the last six months.
“Prior to that he was always coming in not fully fit but preparing to battle for the team and you could see the significance it had for us.
“I know he’s really keen to be involved knowing how crucial these two games are and I’m sure he’ll help no just on the field but off as well.”
Jedinak played 30-minutes for Villa in the Championship and could get another two matches under his belt before linking up with the Caltex Socceroos in Honduras.
Postecoglou sent leading physiotherapist Les Gelis to England earlier this month to check in on the bearded midfielder and the signs are good he’ll be ready to go come the first leg.
“The key thing for us is that he [Jedinak] feels good,” Postecoglou said.
“He kind of had a false start a few weeks back where he played half a game but he certainly feels a lot better.
“From our perspective we’ll be leaving no stone unturned to make sure our players, both physically and psychologically, feel in a good space and Mile’s probably in the best space he has been since the injury.”
While Jedinak appears ready to go against Honduras, winger Mathew Leckie won’t play before the tie after twinging a hamstring playing for club side Hertha Berlin.
Both Leckie and midfielder Mark Milligan are suspended for the first leg in Honduras, with the pair set to head straight to Sydney to prepare for the winner-takes-all return clash.
“We made the decision that rather than fly them over there and give them the extra travel, we’ll leave them here in Australia,” Postecoglou confirmed.
“They’ll get to Sydney a couple of days before us and it will allow Lecks to get over any jetlag issues by getting in a couple of days early from Europe.
“It’s the same thing with Millsy. It will allow him to recover from the [Melbourne Victory] game and be ready when we hit the ground.”