Who’s looking good for Socceroos selection ahead of the World Cup in Qatar – and who’s on the outer
With Socceroos coach Graham Arnold to name his 26-man World Cup squad on November 8, anticipation is building among the playing group ahead of Qatar.
Daily Mail Australia has broken down who will be on the coveted team sheet, who is in jeopardy and who could be left heartbroken.
With 75 international caps to his name, Mat Ryan will be on the plane to the Middle East.
While he may be out of favour with club side FC Copenhagen, the 30-year-old is a favourite of Arnold’s and is also tipped to wear the captain’s armband.
Look for Mitch Langerak to be his understudy, with Andrew ‘Grey Wiggle’ Redmayne the third-choice shot-stopper.
Mat Ryan is a favourite of coach Graham Arnold – and will be the Socceroos’ goalkeeper in Qatar despite being on the outer with his European club
Andrew Redmayne was the unexpected hero for the Socceroos in their epic World Cup qualifying win over Peru in June via a penalty shootout – but should be the third-string goalie
Aziz Behich looms as the first-choice left back, thanks to his impressive form while representing Scottish side Dundee United.
Joel King is another option, as is the reborn Jason Davidson, who has been one of Eupen’s best players in Belgium.
At right back, it is a two-way tussle between Fran Karacic and Nathaniel Atkinson, with the latter said to be fractionally in front.
The Tasmanian junior will need to overcome an ankle injury, but the early diagnosis is promising.
Sydney FC veteran Rhyan Grant and Western United’s Josh Risdon are also under consideration.
Australia’s centre back pairing is likely to be Trent Sainsbury and Harry Souttar, with the towering Stoke City man always a threat from set pieces.
Milos Degenek is expected to be cover for the injury-plagued – but talented – pair.
Aziz Behich looms as the squad’s first choice left back, with Joel King and Jason Davidson the other options
Veteran Aaron Mooy will be named, and Jackson Irvine and Riley McGree offer steel in the middle of the park.
Given Tom Rogic has been underwhelming at West Bromwich Albion in the Championship, he may have left his run for selection too late.
If Ajdin Hrustic can prove he has overcome his ankle complaint, he will also be named.
Keanu Baccus is a possible bolter given his electric club form in Scotland with St Mirren and Roma sensation Cristian Volpato continues to bang down the door.
He has shown he can provide spark off the bench and if it works for Jose Mourinho, why not Arnold?
It will also ensure the uncapped Volpato plays for the Socceroos – not Italy over the next few years – if he enters the fray in Qatar.
Martin Boyle has overcome an injury scare and should start in Australia’s first match versus France on November 23
The same can’t be said for Tom Rogic, who has been underwhelming after moving to the Championship in England with West Bromwich Albion
When it comes to wingers, Australia is spoilt for choice.
Melbourne City’s Mat Leckie is a selection lock, as is Awer Mabil, despite being out of favour with Spanish La Liga outfit Cadiz.
Martin Boyle is also tipped to make the cut after reports a specialist gave the winger the green light to resume training following his knee injury.
Adelaide’s Craig Goodwin offers depth and Central Coast Mariners star Garang Kuol is an X-factor option alongside Macarthur FC pin-up boy Daniel Arzani.
It is hard to believe Arzani was the Socceroos’ next big thing in Russia four years ago, only to see his career stalled by injuries.
He may have done enough to impress the coaching staff following a promising start to the A-League season.
Tim Cahill, anyone?
Unfortunately for Socceroos fans, the man who scored so many crucial goals over the years for the national team hung up his playing boots in 2018.
Instead Arnold will look for Jamie Maclaren and Mitchell Duke to do a job in the final third, with Scottish-born Jason Cummings also in the mix.
Adam Taggart seems to be cursed when it comes to injuries, but can find the back of the net better than most.
Leckie and Kuol can play up top if Arnold wishes to play two strikers against France, Tunisia and Denmark.
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