Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou on Monday named an extended 46-man provisional squad for next month’s AFC Asian Cup.
Nations are required to submit a preliminary squad (between 23-50 players) to the Asian Football Confederation by Tuesday 9 December, before trimming their squads to the mandatory list of 23 players by 30 December.
Crucially, however, players called up as injury replacements in the lead up to the event will have to come from this preliminary list, making it important to cast the net as wide as possible to cover for all scenarios.
Having used 42 players in his 13 months at the helm, most of the names on Postecoglou’s list will come as no surprise to Socceroos fans. Despite this, he has still found some room for new faces.
Nathan Burns, one of the standout forwards in the first two months of the A-League, has earned a recall while there are also call ups for German-based Mustafa Amini and uncapped A-League trio Luke Brattan, Daniel De Silva and Josh Risdon. Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Ben Halloran has also made a return after appearing in the World Cup this year.
One name sure to surprise many is that of Rhys Williams, who returns from a long injury lay-off. While it seems unlikely that he’ll make the final list given his lack of game time at club level in recent months, Postecoglou will give him every chance to prove his fitness.
With only 32 days until Australia take on Kuwait in Melbourne in the Asian Cup opener, Postecoglou is happy with the options provided to him in this list.
“I’m happy with the depth of squad we have been able to name and it is now up to these 46 guys to ensure they are selected in the final squad for the Asian Cup and rise to the challenge ahead,” Postecoglou said.
“We have set about trying to broaden the depth of players and I’m happy with how that has transpired over the last five matches since the World Cup. We have a good group of players to choose from for what will be an exciting time for Australian football.”
The final Australian squad will assemble in Melbourne on 28 December for a 15-day camp leading into the match against Kuwait at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on 9 January.
Daniel De Silva