With a look to youth, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has made some surprise selections, with many Olyroos and Joeys picked among his 23-strong squad for next week's friendly against Argentina in Beijing.
Among those players picked for the encounter with the defending FIFA Men's World Cup Champions include newcomers for the national side including the likes of Melbourne City’s proficient goalkeeper Thomas Glover and Parma’s Alessandro Circati, a promising defender from Italy’s Serie B.
The squad also marks the return of Toulouse midfielder Denis Genreau and versatile Viking FK player Gianni Stensness, who operates both in defence and midfield.
Arnold had always maintained that no matter who the Socceroos’ opponents were in June, this period would offer a preview of what is to come and this is front and centre with the selection of the 19-year-old Circati.
“I’ll be honest, it’s been 12 months of communication with the kid. Obviously, he had two big decisions to make (Australia or Italy). It is great to get him on board," Arnold remarked when asked about Circati.
”As you can see by the squad, it is a younger squad. I’ve got one eye on the World Cup in 2026 and getting players ready for that.”
Although injuries have dealt a significant blow, compelling Arnold to make certain alterations, the squad still bears a familiar look. The seasoned goalkeeper Mat Ryan will continue to lead as the captain, while defender Harry Souttar is determined to rebound from Leicester’s recent relegation ordeal.
“It’s about improving the team, the depth of the team. The World Cup Qualifiers (for the 2026 tournament) begin in November. It’s not like they are a year away”, Arnold referred.
The fixture against Argentina will mark the first time the two sides have faced each other since Australia's heartbreaking Round of 16 elimination from the FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. And although the upcoming fixture is a friendly, the coach is looking for revenge.
“I’ve got goosebumps just thinking that we can play the World Champions so soon after the World Cup and get revenge”, Arnold quipped.
Subway Socceroos Squad June 2023:
Nathaniel Atkinson (Heart of Midlothian FC, Scotland)
Keanu Baccus (St Mirren FC, Scotland)
Brandon Borrello (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia)
Jordan Bos (Melbourne City FC, Australia)
Alessandro Circati (Parma Calcio 1913, Italy)
Cameron Devlin (Heart of Midlothian FC, Scotland)
Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama, Japan)
Joe Gauci (GK) (Adelaide United FC, Australia)
Denis Genreau (Toulouse FC, France)
Thomas Glover (GK) (Melbourne City FC, Australia)
Ajdin Hrustic (Hellas Verona FC, Italy)
Joel King (Odense Boldklub, Denmark on loan to Sydney FC, Australia)
Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City FC, Australia)
Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City FC, Australia)
Riley McGree (Middlesbrough FC, England)
Connor Metcalfe (FC St. Pauli, Germany)
Aiden O’Neill (Melbourne City FC, Australia)
Alexander Robertson (Manchester City FC, England)
Kye Rowles (Heart of Midlothian FC, Scotland)
Mathew Ryan (GK) (Captain) (AZ Alkmaar, Netherland)
Gianni Stensness (Viking FK, Norway)
Harry Souttar (Leicester City FC, England)
Ryan Strain (St Mirren FC, Scotland)
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