Sydney FC’s Grand Final hero, a 1.98 metre defender from Stoke City and a revitalised Bundesliga attacker are among six uncapped players to be included in Graham Arnold’s latest Caltex Socceroos squad.
Three of those players – Sydney FC pair Andrew Redmayne and Brandon O'Neill, and Melbourne Victory's Lawrence Thomas – represent domestic top-flight clubs, making a grand total of 11 Hyundai A-League players who have been handed an opportunity to shine by Arnold for Australia’s international friendly with Korea Republic in June.
Redmayne, O'Neill and Thomas are joined in the 24-player squad by eight other Hyundai A-League stalwarts: Terry Antonis (Melbourne Victory), Josh Brillante (Sydney FC), Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets) and Matt Spiranovic (Perth Glory).
Let’s take a look at the six new faces.
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Andrew Redmayne – Sydney FC
It's been quite a week for the Sydney FC stopper. Four days ago, he saved two penalties to help Sydney FC win their fourth Hyundai A-League Championship. Today, the 30-year-old received his first Caltex Socceroos call-up.
Redmayne’s spot-kick heroics against Perth Glory in the Grand Final captured what a goalkeeping force the former Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers custodian has become.
Arnold poached Gosford-born Redmayne from cross-city rivals Wanderers in January 2017, and the 'keeper has since developed into one of the competition’s finest under the expert mentorship of Sky Blues goalkeeping coach John Crawley.
After safeguarding Sydney’s 2017/18 Premiership success under Arnold, Redmayne shone again this year. He saved a league-high three penalties – on top of his shootout heroics – and only Perth ‘keeper Liam Reddy (12) collected more clean sheets than his nine.
Brandon O’Neill – Sydney FC
Since the beginning of 2016/17, Sydney FC have won five trophies on the domestic scene. It is by no means a bold claim to suggest midfielder O’Neill has been a key pillar of that success.
O’Neill has been a steady revelation for the Sky Blues following his transfer from Perth Glory in May 2015 and comfortably boasts a claim for being the best central midfielder in the Hyundai A-League over the last few seasons.
He might be relatively small in stature, but the Perth-born midfielder is big on heart – and possesses one of the best engines in the competition. In 2018/19, he finished equal-third in assists with seven and eclipsed all his competitors in the passing charts (1933).
Lawrence Thomas – Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory custodian Lawrence Thomas joins Redmayne and Nagoya Grampus ‘keeper Mitch Langerak as Arnold’s three-man goalkeeper unit for Korea Republic.
Thomas, 27, was his solid, reliable self throughout Victory’s third-place finish in the Hyundai A-League in 2018/19.
An impressive commander of his penalty area, Thomas will be hoping to push Langerak and Redmayne close in Busan.
Harry Souttar – Stoke City
In March, Scotland youth international Souttar pledged his allegiance to Australia by accepting a call-up to Graham Arnold’s squad for the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifying campaign.
The 20-year-old defender shone for Arnold’s young side in Cambodia, and his decision to choose the country of his mother’s birth – she hails from Port Hedland, WA – could prove to be an excellent one for the Caltex Socceroos.
Once described as ‘a beast’ by Arnold, Souttar – who stands at 1.98 metres – appeared on the bench four times for English Championship side Stoke City in 2018/19 before joining Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
He impressed at the League One outfit, featuring 11 times and scoring against Accrington Stanley.
Brandon Borrello – SC Freiburg
Brandon Borrello was on the verge of forcing his way into the Caltex Socceroos 2018 FIFA World Cup squad thanks to his form with 2. Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern before he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during training in April 2018.
Despite being in the midst of his recovery, the 23-year-old was acquired by top-flight outfit Freiburg last July, and the ex-Brisbane Roar flyer is now firmly back on his feet.
He made the bench for a 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig on April 27, and has proved his fitness by competing three full 90-minute performances for the club’s Regionalliga Sudwest (fourth division) team, providing four assists.
Ryan Williams – Rotherham United
After playing a starring role in Rotherham United’s promotion to the English Championship in 2017/18, the most recent campaign was more of a challenge for Ryan Williams as the Millers battled to maintain their place at the higher level.
Versatile and enthusiastic, the 25-year-old was utilised on both wings, behind a main striker and in a more central role for the Millers in their ultimately unsuccessful battle against relegation.
He supplied one goal and three assists as Rotherham finished their campaign in 22nd position. He joins brother his elder brother Rhys, who has 14 caps for the Caltex Socceroos, in Busan.
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