Aurelio Vidmar says the youngsters in his Olyroos squad will excite the Australian public for years to come and challenged them to knock down the door for progression into the Socceroos.
Speaking after naming his 23-player squad on Wednesday for the AFC U-23 Championships in Doha, Qatar from 14-30 January, which is the final round of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, the Olyroos boss was thrilled with an impressive mix of players he believes will get the Green and Gold to Rio.
“I’m very excited about the 23 chosen, there’s quite a few young boys in there that can excite the public for many years to come,” Vidmar told reporters.
“We’ve got a few experienced guys too who have had a taste with the Socceroos so it’s a good mix.
“We know it will be a really good test for them. But I think it’s a chance for these young boys to stake a claim and show the Australian public what they have got.
“Hopefully we’ll see them in the Socceroos in the future, that’s the main aim.”
And Vidmar believes that can be sooner rather than later for many of the squad, if they show their quality over the next month.
“It was just last week that Ange [Postecoglou] said there’s spots open for the Socceroos [FIFA World Cup] qualifiers in March. If that’s not incentive enough to perform well then what is?” he said.
“Ange has always been a coach to give young guys and opportunity and if you look at what’s ahead in the next three years with the Olympics, Confederations Cup and the World Cup.
“What a fantastic three years for these players, you don’t need any more motivation than that.
“It’s an important major international tournament, it’s important for Australian football and it’s important we qualify.
“It’s extremely important for these players that we qualify to help their progression and dealing in the Australian way.”
With the AFC U-23 Championship tournament not being staged during a designated FIFA date, European clubs aren’t obligated to release their players for the national team.
It’s meant Vidmar will be without six key players next month – Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Brad Smith (Liverpool), Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam), Ryan Williams (Barnsley), Milos Degenek (1860 Munich) and Awer Mabil (Midtjylland).
“It’s always tough in non-FIFA windows but there’s not much we can do about it. It was the same for the last tournament and it’s been like that for a while,” Vidmar said.
“It’s something that is out of our control so we just focus on what we can control. The guys I replaced them with I’m very excited about what they can offer.
“Someone like Steven Ugarkovic who has been playing in Croatia. He has very good engines, is a good passer of the ball and does everything for the team,” Vidmar added.
“He’s a smart footballer, that’s what I like about him. He’s technically very good and I think he’ll play a big part for us.”
The Olyroos are in Group D of the 16-team tournament in Doha and open their account against the United Arab Emirates on January 14.
They then take on Vietnam on January 17 before rounding out the group stage against Jordan on January 20.