Graham Arnold has revealed his Socceroos squad for June’s international friendly against South Korea, recalling a number fringe players alongside a host of A-League talent.
Perhaps the most notable recalls are those of Matt Spiranovic and Brad Smith, who have not been involved with the national team since before the 2018 World Cup.
Spiranovic returns to the fold after some 18 months out of the picture. Former manager Ange Postecoglou was critical of the level the centre-back he had been playing at: China League One – the Chinese second tier – with Hangzhou Greentown.
However, after his contract ended there, he returned to Australia with Perth Glory. The 30-year-old overcame injury early in his time with Glory and became a key cog in their run to the premiership and grand final.
Smith meanwhile has found consistency in the USA, where he is on loan at Seattle Sounders from AFC Bournemouth. Since landing in the MLS, Smith has chalked up 12 appearances and three assists.
Following a seemingly endless stream of questions, Adam Taggart has finally found his way back into the squad for the first time since 2014. The 25-year-old moved to K-League 1 side Suwon Bluewings in January and has scored five goals in 11 appearances.
There are also a number of new names on the squad list to face the Taeguk Warriors in Busan on June 7, including Brandon Borrello, Brandon O’Neill, Andrew Redmayne, Lawrence Thomas, Harry Souttar and Ryan Williams.
“Our World Cup qualification campaign preparations start now. The upcoming camp and friendly international in Korea Republic provides us the opportunity to expose more players to international football, which is vital as we prepare for a long qualification campaign,” Arnold said.
“We have seen how arduous the previous World Cup path was for our squad and it is imperative that we spend this valuable time together to have a close look and some of our next generation.
“We have eleven players in this squad who have all had excellent seasons in the domestic competition and my message to those playing in the A-League is that if you are playing regularly and consistently for your club, you will come into consideration for the next phase of World Cup qualifiers.
“This international window also gives me the chance to spend an extended time with some of our more experienced players who have recently been missing from international football, but have been playing well for their respective clubs like Matthew Spiranovic, Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart, Bailey Wright, Josh Brillante and Brad Smith.”
Arnold added that the time was right to rest his more recognisable players of the likes of Aaron Mooy, Maty Ryan and Massimo Luongo, affording them holiday periods after tough seasons.
|Name||Club, Country||A-International Caps (Goals)|
|Mustafa Amini||Aarhus Gymnastikforening, Denmark||5 (0)|
|Terry Antonis||Melbourne Victory, Australia||3 (0)|
|Aziz Behich||PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands||35 (2)|
|Brandon Borrello||SC Freiberg, Germany||0 (0)|
|Joshua Brillante||Sydney FC, Australia||5 (0)|
|Thomas Deng||Melbourne Victory, Australia||1 (0)|
|Craig Goodwin||Adelaide United, Australia||3 (0)|
|Rhyan Grant||Sydney FC, Australia||7 (0)|
|Chris Ikonomidis||Perth Glory, Australia||12 (2)|
|James Jeggo||Austria Wien, Austria||1 (0)|
|Matthew Jurman||Al-Ittihad, Saudi Arabia||7 (0)|
|Mitch Langerak||Nagoya Grampus, Japan||8 (0)|
|Awer Mabil||FC Midtjylland, Denmark||9 (4)|
|Brandon O’Neill||Sydney FC, Australia||0 (0)|
|Dimitri Petratos||Newcastle Jets, Australia||2 (0)|
|Andrew Redmayne||Sydney FC, Australia||0 (0)|
|Brad Smith||Seattle Sounders FC, USA||19 (0)|
|Harry Souttar||Stoke City FC, England||0 (0)|
|Matthew Spiranovic||Perth Glory, Australia||35 (0)|
|Adam Taggart||Suwon Bluewings, Korea Republic||8 (4)|
|Lawrence Thomas||Melbourne Victory, Australia||0 (0)|
|Rhys Williams||Al-Qadsiah FC, Saudi Arabia||14 (0)|
|Ryan Williams||Rotherham United, England||0 (0)|
|Bailey Wright||Bristol City FC, England||23 (1)|