With the AFC Asian Cup on Australian soil just a couple of months away, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will be keeping an eye on every player to see who will make his final squad.
The opportunity is there for any player who is fit and firing in the Hyundai A-League to force his way into the squad for the biggest event in Australia in 2015.
I take a look at the five players who have caught the eye over the first few weeks of the season and who could be bolters for Postecoglou’s Asian Cup squad.
Club: Sydney FC
Arguably the form player of the entire competition, Gameiro is enjoying a golden-patch in his young career. The all-action attacker, who can play either out wide or through the middle, scored 12 goals in pre-season and has started the Hyundai A-League in the same vein with two goals from the first three rounds. Has improved his finishing immensely under Graham Arnold and has always been blessed with lightning speed and work-ethic. With goal-scoring options one area the Socceroos need to improve, Gameiro must be knocking on the door of a call-up.
Club: Wellington Phoenix
Position: striker/attacking midfield
It’s somewhat ironic that a move to New Zealand could be the catalyst for Burns return to the Australian side. The 26-year-old has been a sensation for Wellington Phoenix so far this season, scoring three times in three matches as well as providing a few assists as the club have surged to fourth on the ladder. Burns has matured a lot from his stints in Greece and Korea in recent years and is at the age now where he’s approaching the peak of his career. The Asian Cup could be where he explodes onto the international scene, especially in the role behind the main striker which is very much up for grabs.
Club: Melbourne City
Mooy’s form has gone almost unnoticed at City with all the hype around David Villa but he has been one of the league’s most consistent midfielders over the first three rounds. He has the ability to play not only as a holding midfielder but also in the ‘No.10’ role which is a bonus and versatility is something Postecoglou likes. Mooy is blessed with all the attributes of a good midfielder, strong in the challenge, composed on the ball mixed in with a touch of creativity. His Socceroos record is pretty impressive also, three goals in three appearances during the 2012 East Asian Cup campaign.
Club: Sydney FC
It’s hard to believe Antonis is still just 20 considering he has been a part of the Sky Blues set up since 2010. But after dealing with a few injuries and the disappointment of a failed move to Italian club Parma, the classy midfielder is starting to show the type of quality we’ve always known. While the Socceroos are blessed with plenty of options in midfield, not many have the class and well-rounded game of the Bankstown-born playmaker and he would not look out of place in the Green and Gold in January.
Club: Western Sydney Wanderers FC
At 39, Covic doesn’t exactly fit in with Postecoglou’s desire to regenerate the squad but if looking for reliability and experience in goal for the Asian Cup then he is your man. He has been an integral part of the Wanderers’ run to the AFC Champions League final and might be the cool head needed behind what is still an inexperienced Socceroos back four. Covic, who was part of the squad for the 2006 World Cup, is too good a gloveman not to have more than two Socceroos caps to his name and would also be a great mentor for youngsters Mat Ryan and Mitchell Langerak.