Graham Arnold has formally commenced the journey that will make or break his tenure as the boss of the Australian men’s national team; naming his first 23-player squad on Friday afternoon for the commencement of World Cup qualifying.
Arnold and his Socceroos side will take on Kuwait in the early hours of September 11 AEST in their first game on the road to Qatar 2022; a week-long camp in the United Arab Emirates ahead of the contest planned in order to acclimatize the group to Middle Eastern conditions.
In a sign that a new era may soon be on the horizon, twelve of the player selected in the squad for that fixture have made ten or fewer caps for the Socceroos, whilst towering young defender Harry Souttar would make his international debut should he make it onto the park next month.
The call-up represents another milestone of the meteoric rise of Souttar – who plays for Fleetwood Town on loan from Stoke City – inside the Australian system; the Scottish born 20-year-old only making his first appearance for the Olyroos during AFC U23 Qualifying earlier this year.
Sydney FC’s Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant and Melbourne City’s Jamie Maclaren constitute the only three A-League players to receive call-ups to the side, although Craig Goodwin, who recently departed Adelaide United for Saudi Arabian club Al-Wehda, has also been included.
Having continued to tap into a rich vein of form with Suwon Bluewings in the K-League, Adam Taggart will join Maclaren as a striking option for Arnold whilst wide-player Brandon Borello – who recently started his maiden game for club side SC Freiburg – has also been named.
Fresh off helping club side FK Crvena Zvezda qualify for the Champions League – the Serbian side drawn against Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur and Olympiacos in group play this morning – defender Milos Degenek has also received a nod from Arnold, alongside fellow Socceroos squad regulars Mass Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury and
There is, however, no place in the side for Celtic FC attacker Tom Rogic.
The 26-year-old has been battling fitness issues during pre-season with his Scottish side and will not be risked by Arnold against the Kuwaitis.
“I have spent the past month in Europe with one of my Assistants, Rene Meulensteen, watching and speaking with our players and their coaches and we have been delighted with what we have seen and heard,” Arnold said upon the squad’s announcement.
“The players that have been selected in this squad are fit and ready to go, while many, such as Brandon Borrello at Freiburg, Ajdin Hrustic at Groningen, Milos Degenek at Red Star Belgrade, Adam Taggart at Suwon Bluewings, Jackson Irvine at Hull City, and Harry Souttar at Fleetwood Town, have made very positive contributions with their clubs.
“Our June camp and friendly in Busan was a really important time for us.
“While many of the senior players that had participated in three major tournaments since 2017 were left out to give them a chance to refresh mentally and physically, many young and emerging players were given the chance to enter or re-enter the set-up, which has helped us to develop our depth.
“I find it exciting for the Socceroos and the nation that there were so many more players in contention for this squad, and am expecting healthy competition for places in the starting side for Kuwait and our upcoming qualification matches as we target a winning start on our journey to Qatar.”
Following their meeting with Kuwait in early September, the Socceroos are set to meet Nepal in Canberra on October 10 and then travel to Kaohsiung to take on Taiwan on October 15.
They will then complete 2019’s World Cup qualifying games against Jordan in Jordan on November 14.
Caltex Socceroos 23-Player Squad | 2-10 September 2019 | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ & AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2
|Name||Club, Country||A-International Caps (Goals)|
|Mustafa AMINI||AGF Aarhus, Denmark||6 (0)|
|Aziz BEHICH||Istanbul Başakşehir, Turkey||36 (2)|
|Brandon BORRELLO||SC Freiburg, Germany||1 (0)|
|Milos DEGENEK||Red Star Belgrade, Serbia||26 (1)|
|Apostolos GIANNOU||AEK Larnaca, Cyprus||10 (2)|
|Craig GOODWIN||Al-Wehda, Saudi Arabia||4 (0)|
|Rhyan GRANT||Sydney FC, Australia||8 (0)|
|Ajdin HRUSTIC||FC Groningen, Netherlands||1 (0)|
|Jackson IRVINE||Hull City, England||30 (3)|
|James JEGGO||Austria Wien, Austria||2 (0)|
|Mitchell LANGERAK (Gk)||Nagoya Grampus, Japan||8 (0)|
|Mathew LECKIE||Hertha BSC, Germany||61 (9)|
|Massimo LUONGO||Sheffield Wednesday, England||43 (6)|
|Awer MABIL||FC Midtylland, Denmark||10 (4)|
|Jamie MACLAREN||Melbourne City FC, Australia||13 (1)|
|Mark MILLIGAN||Southend United, England||79 (6)|
|Aaron MOOY||Brighton & Hove Albion, England||39 (5)|
|Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk)||Sydney FC, Australia||1 (0)|
|Mathew RYAN (Gk)||Brighton & Hove Albion, England||55 (0)|
|Trent SAINSBURY||Maccabi Haifa, Israel||46 (3)|
|Brad SMITH||Seattle Sounders FC, United States of America||20 (0)|
|Harry SOUTTAR||Fleetwood Town, England||0 (0)|
|Adam TAGGART||Suwon Bluewings, Korea Republic||8 (3)|