Australia call up young guns for Saudi, Japan games


Sydney (AFP) – Austrian-based midfielder James Jeggo could earn his first cap for the Socceroos after being named on Tuesday in Australia’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan next month.

Coach Ange Postecoglou has made three changes to the squad, calling up the uncapped Jeggo and Netherlands-based Craig Goodwin, while defender Bailey Wright returns after missing the first two qualifiers through injury.

Jeggo, 24, moved to SK Sturm Graz this year after stints with Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United in Australia’s A-League. 

“We’ve made a couple of slight tweaks to the squad in line with our mantra of selecting players who are in form and fitness and we’d like to have a good look at Craig Goodwin and James Jeggo, who have started their seasons well in Europe,” Postecoglou said.

“Bailey Wright also comes back in after he missed the first two matches through injury and we go to Saudi Arabia and then back to Melbourne with a squad we are comfortable can continue the good start we achieved.”

Asian champions Australia defeated Iraq 2-0 in Perth and the United Arab Emirates 1-0 in Abu Dhabi earlier this month to kick off their final round qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

They face Saudi Arabia, who beat Thailand and Iraq in their first two matches, in Jeddah on October 6 before returning to Melbourne on October 11 to play Japan.

“These two games come pretty quickly after the two matches we played against Iraq and the UAE and we face similar challenges against tough opposition, but we are confident in our processes and planning,” Postecoglou said.

Australia – Tim Cahill (Melbourne City/AUS), Milos Degenek (1860 Munchen/GER), Adam Federici (Bournemouth/ENG), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Chris Ikonomidis (Aarhus Gymnastikforening/DEN), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), James Jeggo (SK Sturm Graz/AUT), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern/SUI), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Vfb Stuttgart/GER), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt/GER), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers/ENG), Ryan McGowan (Henan Jianye/CHN), Mark Milligan (Baniyas/UAE), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG), Tommy Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Mathew Ryan (Valencia/ESP), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning/CHN), Brad Smith (Bournemouth/ENG), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown/CHN), Bailey Wright (Preston North End/ENG)

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