Australian national team coach Ange Postecoglou has today named a 23-man squad for this month’s friendly against Japan
The match against the 2011 AFC Asian Cup winners is the Socceroos’ last scheduled clash before January’s 2015 Asian Cup opener against Kuwait in Melbourne, making it a crucial game for players to press their claims to be part of the Asian Cup squad.
While recent experimentation was expected to stop and that Postecoglou would settle on a squad with an eye towards the January tournament, the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory coach continues to give opportunities to those on the fringe, calling up A-League trio Terry Antonis, Aaron Mooy and Mitch Nichols.
Antonis has long been regarded as one of Australia
’s most exciting young prospects and almost joined Italian side Parma last year, before contract complications scuppered the move.
“The squad we’ve selected has a core group of players we have been working with over the last 12 months but it still gives an opportunity to a few more younger players who have started the season well in the A-League,” Postecoglou said at today’s announcement in Sydney.
“The Japan match is the final hit out before the Asian Cup and we’ll have a good week of training leading into the game, so we can continue to work on what we’ve been trying to achieve before we take on a tough opponent in Japan.”
Fresh off winning the AFC Champions League with Western Sydney Wanderers, Nikolai Topor-Stanley earns another call-up, although there is no room for first leg hero Tomi Juric or the AFC Champions League’s Most Valuable Player, goalkeeper Ante Covic.
Fellow Wanderer Matthew Spiranovic has also been left out, however Postecoglou confirmed this was due to the defender recently returning from injury. The Socceroos coach declared that once fully fit Spiranovic would come back into the side.
Also missing due to injury is exciting winger Tommy Oar, who has started the season exceptionally well for FC Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Australia National Team squad for Japan friendly (November 18)
Terry Antonis (Sydney FC, Australia)
Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey)
Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa, Qatar)
Joshua Brillante (ACF Fiorentina, Italy)
Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls, USA)
Jason Davidson (West Bromwich Albion, England)
Ivan Franjic (FK Torpedo Moscow, Russia)
Chris Herd (Aston Villa, England)
James Holland (FK Austria Vienna, Austria)
Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace, England)
Robbie Kruse (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Germany)
Mitchell Langerak (B.V. Borussia Dortmund, Germany)
Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt 04, Germany)
Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town, England)
Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar, Australia)
Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory, Australia)
Mitch Nichols (Perth Glory, Australia)
Aaron Mooy (Melbourne City, Australia)
Mat Ryan (Club Brugge KV, Belgium)
Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands)
Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Western Sydney Wanderers, Australia)
James Troisi (SV Zulte Waregem, Belgium)
Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea Republic)