In: Mark Milligan made the cut. Photo: Anthony JohnsonSocceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has named two uncapped players in his extended 30-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by including 21-year-old defender Bailey Wright and German-based winger Ben Halloran in the preliminary team that will travel to Brazil.
The duo are among a rejuvenated Australia squad that has an unprecedented blend of youth, experience and domestic based players with 11 currently playing in the A-League.
“The majority of them have strong seasons this year and I guess for a lot of them, hopefully, they have similar fire in their belly to myself in wanting to prove themselves,” Postecoglou told a news conference in Sydney.
“I had some specific criteria – form, fitness and an eye for the future – and I think this squad reflects that.”
Wright, who plays centre back for English League One club Preston North End has been included at the expense of injured defender Trent Sainsbury who was ruled out due to ongoing problems with his knee.
Fortuna Dusseldorf winger Ben Halloran has had a strong finish to the Bundesliga II season with a goal for every third game he features in.
Potential Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has been declared fit to play in Brazil despite suffering a groin injury on the final day of the English Premier League while playing for Crystal Palace.
Josh Kennedy, the scorer of the vital goal that sealed Australia’s passage to Brazil has been selected for the first time under Ange Postecoglou and will have to prove himself during the 10 day camp in Gosford beginning Thursday, May 15.
Australia will play South Africa in a friendly in Sydney on May 26 before departing for Brazil two days later. The final 23-man squad will be announced on June 2.
Preliminary World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti.
Defenders: Josh Brillante, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Curtis Good, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Luke WIlkshire, Bailey Wright.
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, Ben Halloran, James Holland, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Adam Sarota, James Troisi, Dario Vidosic
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Matthew Leckie, Adam Taggart.
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