Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has consigned the Asian Cup after-glow to the past, focused solely on the future and Australia’s upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign which kicks off in June.
The Socceroos' opening FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier is against Kyrgyztstan in Bishkek on June 16.
And Postecoglou went with a squad of relatively familiar faces, naming 19 members of the Asian Cup triumph in his 23-man squad on Monday.
While he has been at the helm for last year’s World Cup and January’s Asian Cup success, this is the first qualifying tenure during Postecoglou’s reign.
And he’s determined to build some new headlines for the national team, and not rest on their recent success.
"It maybe puts a little bit of a full stop to the great after-glow of the Asia Cup, we can start looking forward now," Postecoglou told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
"This process is about qualifying, which is always a tricky affair and will be challenging for us even in this first phase...not just qualifying but building a really strong team over the next two or three-year cycle."
"This squad is pretty reflective of our journey over the past 18 months, the World Cup and the Asia Cup squads. And we are beginning to form a little bit of a foundation of the team we want to be and the players we're selecting.
“For me it’s a real new beginning. I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s always a challenging process.
“It’s not just about qualifying which is number one objective but through this period it’s about being a team that will be stronger than ever before looking forward to it.”
Postecoglou has used more than 50 players since taking charge 18 months ago but admitted he won't be experimenting too much during the qualifying phase.
“With these games being World Cup qualifiers we won’t experiment through those times. We’re going to try and build a team,” Postecoglou said.
“The majority of these guys went through the Asian Cup and have started to build an international portfolio…some are creeping up to 20 caps.
“Now’s the time to for us to form a strong foundation with this group of players but I certainly won’t close the door on any player.
“I’m never satisfied or comfortable and neither are the players. The guys that went through the Asian Cup did fantastically well for us and get first opportunity to nail down a spot but no one is going to be satisfied.
“What I’m finding is the more we cast the net wider and wider the more depth we’re creating and the more depth we find.
“It’s important for everyone to understand they are being selected for this game but no guarantees moving forward. Guys outside know the doors open for them to be selected.”
Injury means Melbourne City's Aaron Mooy and Brisbane's Luke DeVere drop out of the squad that played Germany and Macedonia in March, while Adam Federici was also left out.
Eugene Galekovic, Matthew Spiranovic and striker Tim Cahill return.
Asked about 35-year-old Cahill’s long-term future in the Green and Gold, Postecoglou backed his star man: “The last time he was selected for his country he helped us win an Asian Cup.
“I’m not going to put pins in people to end their careers or begin their careers, whether they are 18 or 35 if they are fitting in to the way we want to play football and our culture then they will get selected.
“In terms of experience and leadership, we’re probably still a little bit thin in those areas and he [Cahill] helps enormously in that part.”
The Socceroos have already had staff in Kyrgyzstan checking on conditions in Bishkek, and they will have a week-long training camp in Dubai ahead of the clash with the Central Asian nation.
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