New Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has retained four uncapped players in his maiden 26-man squad for World Cup warmups against Norway and Colombia.
Socceroos’ tweet: Here’s Bert van Marwijk’s final @Socceroos squad to face Norway and Colombia.
Japan-based winger Andrew Nabbout, Newcastle Jets midfielder Dimitri Petratos, Czech Republic-based defender Aleksandar Susnjar and Belgium-based goalkeeper Daniel Vukovic will press for international debuts away to Norway on March 23 and fellow World Cup qualifiers Colombia in London on March 28.
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Jones, midfielder Joshua Brillante, and defender James Meredith all return after varying absences to the squad, which retains the core of the side that defeated Honduras in an intercontinental playoff to qualify for Russia.
Long-serving striker Tim Cahill has been retained in the squad, despite very limited playing time with Millwall in England’s second tier.
He remains in a forward set-up featuring Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie.
Langerak, striker Jamie Maclaren and Alex Gersbach are the players omitted from a 29-man group named last week.
Van Marwijk said the squad was selected after an intensive scouting period since he was named Socceroos coach for the World Cup in Russia.
“I am looking forward to the chance to get together with the players and work with them for the first time and to get to know them,” he said in a statement.
Feyenoord’s Brad Jones has been added to the Socceroos goalkeeping mix. (Reuters: Phil Noble)
“We must ensure that we get the maximum possible out of the next two weeks in camp because our time is limited.
“Our friendly matches against Norway and Colombia will be important but the focus, commitment and application of all the players, coaches and staff from day one until the moment we leave London will be crucial.
“We need to ensure that we use the time that we have together wisely so that we advance our preparations for Russia.”
Van Marwijk will coach Australia at Russia 2018, which kicks off in mid June, with Graham Arnold to take over on a permanent basis after the tournament.
Socceroos squad: Aziz Behich, Joshua Brillante, Tim Cahill, Milos Degenek, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones (gk), Tomi Juric, Matthew Jurman, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, James Meredith, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mat Ryan (gk), Trent Sainsbury, Aleksandar Susnjar, James Troisi, Daniel Vukovic (gk), Bailey Wright.