Poised for Socceroos call-up: Melbourne City’s Aaron Mooy. Photo: Jonathan CarrollSocceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is set to reward some of the A-League’s most in-form players with a call-up to the national team for their back-to-back European friendlies against Germany and Macedonia later this month.
While seven members of the 23-man squad that won the Asian Cup in January were plucked from domestic competition, that figure could swell again as the side’s overall rejuvenation continues.
Heading the queue for next week’s selection is Melbourne City midfielder Aaron Mooy – seen as the unluckiest player to miss the Asian Cup – whose form has gone to another level in recent weeks.
With Postecoglou’s penchant for long-term options no secret, he may consider Brisbane’s Luke Brattan and Perth’s Rostyn Griffiths, while defenders like Josh Risdon and Osama Malik may come into the calculations. Boom youngster Alex Gersbach and Danny De Silva are also being monitored.
However, the matches may come too soon for Mitch Nichols as he works his way back from a torn hamstring.
“From my perspective it’s about trying to create some more depth and there are two or three in the A-League who are on the radar and maybe a couple overseas as well,” Postecoglou said. “I’ll just see how this weekend goes and we’ll make our selections [afterwards]. Certainly, some of the form in A-League has been pretty good so it at least gives you something to think about.”
The manager conceded the squad “for the most part” would be the same as the one that went to the Asian Cup, albeit with some forced changes.
“We’re pretty close. Obviously we just have to get through this weekend and then we’ll announce the squad next week and we’ll go from there,” he said. “For the most part, guys like Robbie Kruse, Chris Herd and obviously “Bresh” [recent retiree Mark Bresciano] will all miss out. Everyone else seems fit and healthy.
Right-back Ivan Franjic, who strained his adductor in the Asian Cup semi final and then pushed it too far in the Asian Cup final, taking him out of contention for his club side, Torpedo Moscow, is another who may miss out.
“I think defensively at the Asian Cup we were down on numbers,” Postecoglou said. “Across the back four, we need to find some more players and expose some players there, so that will probably be the key area.”
Bresciano’s retirement will give others an opportunity not only to take his place in the squad but to fill the leadership void his departure creates.
“There’s others outside the squad who have an opportunity with Bresh retiring. Even within the squad, we now need players to step up and take leadership roles as well,” Postecoglou said. “Bresh was a pretty big influence on this group of players, not just on the field. There needs to be somebody to step up and fill those shoes and that does create an opportunity for someone in that area of the park.
Asked if it was “too soon” for 18-year old left-back Gersbach, a standout for Sydney FC this season, Postecoglou said age would not count against the Illawarra-born youngster, confirming he “is on the radar”.
“It’s not too soon for anyone. Alex is doing really well,” he said. “He plays in an area of the park where we don’t have a lot of depth.”
While Germany are reigning world champions and the No.1 ranked side, Postecoglou said the Socceroos would only improve by continually taking on the world’s best.
“We accepted this game in the middle of last year when things weren’t going well because we always want to measure ourselves against the best and that’s what we’ll do,” he said. “There’s no point trying to dodge teams that we feel are going to be too strong for us. We did that in the lead-up [to the Asian Cup], playing away from home against strong nations and this is a great test for us.
“We’re looking forward to the game, we’re all excited about it and we’ll go there and take the game to them and see where we measure up. That’s served us really well in previous friendlies and we’ll do that in this game.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.