Squad Status: Six shining midfield stars flying into World Cup

Caltex Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk has confirmed his extended 26-man squad which will assemble in Turkey for a crucial pre-FIFA World Cup training camp.

And it’s in midfield where there’s a stack of talent to choose from with six quality options for the Dutchman to consider ahead of that opening game against France on June 16.

But which ones will he go for with all of them enjoying loads of success at club level this season.

READ: Our look back at the club form of our three Caltex Socceroos goalkeepers

READ: The 975 minute puzzle for Australia's defenders after mixed club seasons

Here’s the Squad Status of our six midfielders picked in van Marwijk’s Caltex Socceroos extended squad, looking at the form they’ll be carrying into camp ahead of Russia ...

Jackson Irvine

Games played: 42 (2973 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 12 (916 minutes)

The story of his season:

Irvine endured a rollercoaster season in the English Championship after making a $3.3m move from strugglers Burton Albion to relegated Premier League outfit Hull City.

Looking in danger of falling into the drop zone heading into the last few months of the season, Hull eventually turned things around to end the campaign well clear of relegation in 18th position.

And after breaking into the starting XI regularly by October, the Melbourne-born playmaker went on to feature prominently and ended the campaign with three goals and six assists.

“The day-to-day of training with international level players at Hull was valuable. It was something that I never had the chance to experience in my career so far,” Irvine told FourFourTwo.

"Playing with these top, top players who have played at the highest level and playing alongside them is definitely been the best thing for my career so far.”

It wasn't just on the pitch that Irvine made an impact at Hull, also being named the Tigers’ PFA Community Champion for the 2017/18 season for his work visiting and supporting Community projects.

Mile Jedinak

Games played: 27 (1688 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 13 (976 minutes)

The story of his season:

It was an injury-hit start to the season for Jedinak, meaning he missed crucial games for both the Caltex Socceroos and Aston Villa.

Mile Jedinak celebrates his goal with Jack Grealish
Mile Jedinak celebrates his goal with Jack Grealish

He played just 76 minutes at the start of the season before his heroics for Australia against Honduras before then suffering a shoulder injury that many feared would require a three-month absence. Instead, the 33-year-old returned again only to miss games through a thigh injury.

But in the final four months of the season, a fit Jedinak helped to propel Villa into strong play-off contention and scored the only goal in the semi-final win over Middlesbrough. Villa have one game of the season still to play – a shot at the Premier League on Sunday 27 May AEST – and the skipper has been earning rave reviews for his late season form.

Massimo Luongo

Games played: 39 (3388 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 12 (1003 minutes)

The story of his season:

It’s been an excellent season for Luongo with QPR, who was one of their shining lights in a campaign that never really got going.

With six goals, three assists and 45 chances created, Luongo has got plenty of game time under his belt with 39 matches played in the gruelling Championship season on his way to being names QPR’s Player of the Year.

But perhaps the stat which sums up how much the 25-year-old has matured is the amount of duels he contested in the middle of the park.

Luongo was involved in 700 duels in 2017/18 at a rate of 18.6 every 90 minutes, with that combativeness and ability to ‘get stuck in’ likely to be crucial in Russia.

Given his exploits, Luongo was given the last three games of the season off by manager Ian Holloway to rest-up ahead of going in to camp with the Caltex Socceroos.

“After speaking to the manager and club, we have decided to end my season now and for me to recharge in preparation for the WC. This season has had its ups and downs but would like to thank all the @QPRFC fans for their continued support. See you next season,” he Tweeted last month.

Aaron Mooy

Games played: 38 (3210 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 9 (789 minutes)

The story of his season:

Like Caltex Socceroos keeper Maty Ryan, Mooy’s first season in the Premier League was all about survival, with his Huddersfield Town securing their EPL status with a game to spare.

And Mooy was central to the club’s incredible ride among England’s elite in 2017/18.

With 102 tackles, Mooy was fifth in their entire Premier League in this category, while his 1905 passes were the 16th-most in the EPL.

He also topped the Terries for total passes and key passes, indicating his ability to control the tempo of a match and act as a metronome for Huddersfield.

His four goals included winners in early-season matches against Newcastle United and Manchester United, while Mooy also contributed five assists, including in the vital 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge which secured safety.

Aaron Mooy

While it was an impressive debut EPL campaign for the Aussie, he’s vowed there’s more to come.

"I just push myself as hard as I can, in training and games. Wherever that takes me, is fine by me," Mooy told Australian Associated Press.

“I'm already proud of what I've done. I'll keep working and keep going. I don't set too many targets, I'll just keep going."

Tom Rogic

Games played: 41 (2577 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 14 (961 minutes)

The story of his season:

Rogic’s Celtic secured the Scottish Premiership title for a seventh straight season – with the Caltex Socceroos playmaker playing a vital role.

With 70 scoring chances created from just 23 appearances in the league (at more than three a game), which saw him ranked sixth in the entire Scottish Premiership in that category.

He also had the second most of any Celtic player, behind winger Scott Sinclair (76).

Rogic contributed a further five goals and four assists in the league for the Hoops, as well as scoring in four Old Firm Derbies in a single season (the first player to do that since 2002).

The 25-year-old’s sensational from even prompted Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to compare Rogic to Liverpool and Brazil magician Philippe Coutinho.

"Coutinho was a futsal player [like Rogic]. The ball's a bit softer in futsal so you can manipulate it and gain confidence with it," the former Reds boss told The Telegraph.

Tom Rogic

"Tom has about size 14 feet, so how he works the ball around plates that size is even more incredible.

“That's what people won't recognise, but his feet are soft and he's got a great view of the game - and he likes to score goals.”

Rogic’s season isn’t over yet, with Celtic looking to complete a domestic treble if they can defeat Motherwell in the Scottish FA Cup on Sunday morning (midnight Saturday (AEST).

James Troisi

Games played: 30 (2563 minutes)

Games played in the last three months: 13 (1119 minutes)

The story of his season:

It’s been a mixed season for Troisi, which ultimately ended in glory with his Melbourne Victory winning the Hyundai A-League Championship.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 29-year-old, whose season was punctuated by some forgettable performances at times but also some fantastic highs.

While he was benched by Victory boss early in the 2017/18 Season, he got better as the campaign went on, eventually making 25 appearances, scoring five goals and contributing four assists.

Troisi also did well in other key areas, including making 38 key passes, while he had 34 successful dribbles.

The 37-cap Caltex Socceroo admitted it wasn’t his best season in terms of performances but feels he’s become a better playing learning a different style at Victory throughout the campaign.

“The way I like to play, in terms of possession, passing it around and linking up with other players, it was very hard to do at times this season," Troisi told FourFourTwo.

“But in saying that, I think we all learnt a different style of football. Not that we didn’t know it, we just had to fight a lot more, graft a lot more, and work harder.

“That’s something else that you take out of this season as well. In terms of physically, I am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been.”

James Troisi could play a key role against Syria in Sydney.