Australia name three uncapped footballers for World Cup qualifiers

Canberra, March 9 (IANS) Australia on Wednesday named three uncapped footballers in its squad of 23 to compete in the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikstan and Jordan.

Australia’s coach Ange Postecoglou promised to blood youth in the qualifiers to be held on March 24 and 29, with uncapped Jason Geria, Alex Hersbach and former Greek international Apostolos Giannou all included in the squad, reports Xinhua.

Postecoglou said it was important to have a mix of both youth and experience in the squad in the lead up to the World Cup in 2018 in Russia — with Australia also calling on a number of players currently competing overseas, including forward Robbie Kruse, goalkeeper Mat Ryan, Massimo Luongo, Tim Cahill and Matthew Spiranovic.

“It’s great to be able to bring experienced players like Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak and Matthew Spiranovic back into the squad after missing recent matches but it is equally exciting to see how a fresh crop of young players can fit into how we train and what we are trying to achieve,” Postecoglou said.

“Getting that balance between winning football matches and giving players an opportunity is something we have been doing for two years and during that time we have had success and haven’t been let down by any of the young players.”

Also called upon were local A-League players including Aaron Mooy and Jason Geria.

Aside from the two qualifiers, to be held in Adelaide and Sydney, Australia also have two key friendlies against England and Greece, which are — according to the coach — “very important” in the squad’s preparation for a potential World Cup berth.

The Socceroos will play Tajikistan at the Adelaide Oval on March 24, before flying to Sydney to clash with Jordan at Allianz Stadium on March 29.

Australia squad: Terry Antonis, Nathan Burns, Tim Cahill, Adam Federici, Jason Geria, Alex Gersbach, Apostolos Giannou, Chris Ikonomidis, Mile Jedinak (captain), Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Ryan McGowan, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Josh Risdon, Tommy Rogic, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright.

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