Talking Points: Seven potential Socceroos debuts for June
With 31 players between the ages of 21 to 36, plying their trade in 17 leagues around the world, there are plenty of talking points that arise out of the squad set to make the Socceroos’ long-awaited return to the international stage.
Head Coach Graham Arnold this week revealed the squad who will represent Australia in their remaining four FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B qualifiers.
The roster includes a host of familiar names who played their part in the Socceroos’ 2019 qualifiers, as well as a collection of exciting new additions.
As anticipation grows for kick off in Kuwait – now less than 10 days away – here is your chance to familiarise yourself with the seven players who could be set to make their international debuts, as well as those who are returning to the frame after some time away.
In the proud and fabled 99-year history of Australia’s senior men’s football team just 606 footballers have represented Australia at ‘A’ international level, however that number could increase by up to seven over the coming weeks as several uncapped players join the Socceroos in the Gulf.
Seven players yet to make their senior international debut take their place in the squad.
29-year-old Lawrence Thomas, formerly of Melbourne Victory in the A-League and now representing Danish Super League club SønderjyskE, is one of four goalkeepers named in the squad.
While he is yet to take to the pitch in Green and Gold, the shot-stopper’s first taste of the senior national team environment came in June 2019 when he was included in Australia’s senior squad for a friendly against South Korea.
Fullback Fran Karacic is another uncapped player with previous experience in camp. The Croatian-born defender has impressed during his first season with Serie B club Brescia and will boost Australia’s right-back stocks alongside Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant.
Midfield trio Kenny Dougall, Denis Genreau and Riley McGree are all in the same boat, having previously been named in national team squads, but are still awaiting a maiden senior cap.
Dougall, who is set to take part in the League One playoff final with Blackpool before jetting off to the Middle East, was an unused substitute last time the Socceroos were in action back in November 2019.
Macarthur FC’s Genreau and Birmingham City’s McGree, both 22 years of age, are two players who gained valuable experience in camp at an early age, and will be hoping not only to earn their Socceroos debuts, but also to secure places in the Olyroos’ squad for the Tokyo 2020 men’s football tournament.
The same can be said for 21-year-old Melbourne City midfielder Connor Metcalfe, who alongside 24-year-old Central Coast Mariners defender Ruon Tongyik, is one of two members of the 31 to have been called into senior camp for the first time.
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On the experienced end of the squad, there are four players called up by Graham Arnold for the first time who will be savouring a long-awaited return to the national team environment.
Defensive midfielder James Holland returns for his first camp since the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after a strong few seasons in Europe – where he notably played Champions League football with Austrian top flight side LASK Linz.
Another returning figure played their part in Tim Cahill’s memorable strike against the Dutch at that tournament: Sydney FC defender Ryan McGowan.
Fellow A-League centre-back Curtis Good has overcome a torrid few years of injury struggles to play an important role in the success of recently-crowned Premiers Melbourne City.
It has been a long road back for the 28-year-old, who will be hoping to add to his solitary Socceroos cap earned seven years ago.
Another player who has been in outstanding form at club level is Maccabi Haifa marksman Nikita Rukavystya.
The striker has been in the goalscoring form of his life and can now look forward to his first call-up in three years.
The fixtures will also provide a prime opportunity for Socceroos fans to finally see more of the likes of Martin Boyle and Harry Souttar in action for Australia, who have gone from strength to strength in the United Kingdom during the national teams’ 18-month hiatus.
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