Rolling Socceroos XI: Depth growing in the wings

Rolling Socceroos XI: Depth growing in the wings

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We’ve qualified for Russia 2018, so what better time to bring back the Rolling Socceroos XI?

After the ambiguity of Ange Postecoglou’s departure, we now have a clearer idea of how a new-look team will shape up.

Bert van Marwijk has taken charge and now has four months to prepare for the World Cup.

The team is picked on minutes and form.

This week there are two changes, with Mathew Leckie and Milos Degenek coming back in for Chris Ikonomidis and Trent Sainsbury.

(4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper – Mat Ryan: Immovable and was brilliant again for Brighton against Arsenal.

Right-back – Luke Wilkshire: Less effective for Sydney FC against Newcastle Jets but holds his spot. Direct rival Josh Risdon was impressive against Perth Glory.

Centre-back – Bailey Wright: Missed for Bristol City against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend with a knee injection, but that is expected to be the worst of his troubles.

Centre-back – Milos Degenek: He has started the J-League season reasonably well with 180 minutes from 180 under Ange Postecoglou. Comes in for Trent Sainsbury for the time being.

Left-back – Aziz Behich: Like Ryan, will be tough to displace. Entrenched in Bursaspor’s best XI.

Defensive-midfield – Jackson Irvine: Yet to play Hull City’s matchday 35 game, which will take place on Tuesday evening against Ipswich Town. To see him dropped from the starting XI would be a surprise.

Defensive-midfield – Mile Jedinak: Aston Villa’s game against QPR was postponed due to weather conditions, so to change the skipper would be silly. That said, he did not start the Villans’ previous match.

Attacking-midfield – Aaron Mooy: Not far away from a return to action for Huddersfield Town now.

Right-midfield – Mathew Leckie: Has regained his place as a Hertha Berlin starter and gets back into the team in favour of Chris Ikonomidis, who was hardly poor in Western Sydney Wanderers’ last match against Perth Glory.

Left-midfield – Robbie Kruse: Like Irvine, Kruse’s own German team Bochum are yet to play their latest round match. They are up against Ingolstadt, where Kruse is expected to start.

Striker – Tomi Juric: The goals have struggled to flow for the big hitman, but there are few alternatives. However, he is starting games for FC Luzern and is seeing most of them out – or at least the vast majority. Jamie Maclaren is on his toes.

SMOKEY WATCH

Brandon Borrello – His form for Kaiserslautern is brilliant. Produced a 35-yard bomb in their win over Union Berlin and got an assist in the same game. The uncapped forward is giving Bert van Marwijk something to think about.

Andrew Nabbout – His claims for selection are now very, very genuine. His brilliant goal against Sydney showed just how confident Nabbout is, and if he can hit it off in Japan, a ticket to Russia could be on its way.

Ajdin Hrustic – Started for FC Groningen on the weekend. The young gun burst onto the scene in the Australian winter of 2017 but in recent months has struggled to consistently move forward. Looks to be on his way to doing that now.

Apo Giannou – The striker can be classified as a forgotten Socceroo but reminded everyone of what he can offer at a good time, with the next Australia squad to be picked on Tuesday morning. He netted his first goal in Cyprus for AEK Larnaca.

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