Australia Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has selected his 30-man Provisional Squad for the upcoming World Cup.
“We’re excited to announce the preliminary 30-man Socceroos squad for the World Cup…. We’ve selected a squad we believe will represent the people of Australia with pride on the biggest stage in world sport,” Postecoglou said at the official press conference, unveiling the squad.
Only seven players remain from the Socceroos’ World Cup Squad that travelled to South Africa in 2010. Mile Jedinak, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Josh Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Eugene Galekovic, and Luke Wilkshire will all add valuable experience to this youthful and energetic squad headed to Brazil.
As expected, previous captain Lucas Neill will be left stranded on 96 caps for Australia as it was announced he would not be included in the squad due to poor form and fitness. As reported earlier, Brett Holman and Mark Schwarzer have also recently retired from international duties, paving the way for the younger generation to come through.
Other noteable absentees from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups include the recently retired Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton, along with the underperforming Carl Valeri and David Carney.
In their places, 21-year old Massimo Luongo, who has been crowned Swindon Town’s player of the year having started 54 times this season in League 1 (England), is sure to impress if he makes the cut for the final 23. Ben Halloran, who has lit up the Bundesliga Two with his pace and an array of goals for FSV Frankfurt this season, has all but sown up the right-wing spot for the Socceroos due to Robbie Kruse’s (Bayer Leverkusen) long-term injury.
Bailey Wright (21), if selected in the final 23, will be an exciting debutant at center-back for the Socceroos, after helping Preston North End reach the Championship (England) promotion play-off. Another uncapped Socceroo is Adam Taggart (20), who was awarded the Australian A-League’s golden boot this season with 16 goals. If selected in the final 23, he will add another dimension to the attack.
“Our responsibility is to excite [our fans] and maybe take them on a wild ride, where the unexpected can happen,” Postecogleu said.
This is the feeling we get from watching these young players excel at their respective clubs. It is also what we have seen over the last few years from Postecoglou’s domestic teams who have won trophy after trophy. Attacking football. That’s what we can expect from this team, and let’s hope it excites us all.
With an average age of 25, and an array of players who have never been to a World Cup, it will be the perfect opportunity to showcase the future of Australian soccer to the world. This is also a chance to blood young players against quality opposition in preparation for the 2015 Asian Cup.