Squad has Postecoglou stamp all over it
The biggest surprise for me when Ange Postecoglou announced his squad for the match against Ecuador was the inclusion of veteran Luke Wilkshire.
The biggest surprise for me when Ange Postecoglou announced his squad for this Thursday morning's (AEDT) Socceroos v Ecuador match was the inclusion of veteran Luke Wilkshire. He was virtually written off by many pundits for walking out of camp after the National team's 6-0 capitulation to France back in October.
Postecoglou has shown fairness in his selection of Wilkshire after leaving him out of the squad for the then new coach's first game in charge against Costa Rica last year... and he has added some experience to what can be termed a 'new look' squad.
The squad he has named has the Postecoglou stamp all over it...solid defensively with fullbacks capable that can get forward. The centre backs protected by the physicality and defensive abilities of a Jedinak or Milligan in the holding role, plenty of mobility in the surrounding midfielders and pacy wider players.
They are also players that are capable of quick ball movement and high tempo football...the hallmark of Postecoglou's teams. It also has a touch of versatility about it. Franjic and Davidson can play as fullbacks or wide attackers. Wilkshire can play in midfield as well as right back and the manager has the option to play with two holders or two number 10's if the game demands tactical change.
Just who is going to start though is a mystery for now. Ange will have a pretty good idea of how he will want to play but the 'who' will come down to how the players pull up after the weekend's matches and who picks themselves with a good performance in camp.
The loss of Ben Halloran through injury is unfortunate. The kid has genuinely scary pace and can be a real handful for opponents on the right side of midfield. That Brett Holman was chosen as his replacement is interesting because they are very different types of players. Holman has experience on his side but I will be very surprised if he makes the final list for Brazil.
Postecoglou stated on announcing the squad he was looking at the next four years as well which is probably not as important as next year's Asian Cup. What it is though is an indication of the futures of the remnants of the Socceroos "Golden Generation"...that their days are numbered in the Green and Gold!
Time is short now, decisions have to be made and sentiment can't be part of the process. There are a few new faces in this list that have to be given some game-time...the likes of Oliver Bozanic, whose selection has been a long time coming, plus Curtis Good and Massimo Luongo. And of course Tommy Rogic who has to start the match. So much has been said about this youngster and now is the time to see if he has what it takes at this level.
Ecuador will be good opposition given they are one of the better teams from South America. It's about as close as we can get to our World Cup opposition to play during the preparatory stage we are beginning. The result, whilst always important isn't crucial. This game is more about getting our style of play in order and an inkling of which players will be in Brazil to implement it.
At risk of sounding too Anglo in this modern and multi-cultural world of footy... Here we go, here we go, here we go...