Jamie Maclaren will return to the national team a better and more resilient striker because of his 2018 FIFA World Cup omission, according to former Socceroo Archie Thompson.
As revealed by The World Game on Monday, Maclaren was one of six players to get the chop when coach Bert van Marwijk named his 26-man squad this morning, with three more to be axed in early June.
The blow came despite the 24-year-old's eye-catching Scottish Premiership form, with eight goals in 15 games for Hibernian including a hat-trick against Rangers on Sunday night (AEST).
It leaves Tim Cahill and Tomi Juric as the only out-and-out strikers, with winger Andrew Nabbout also an option up front.
Thompson wondered if the stigma of Scotland's declining top flight may have played a part in Maclaren's exclusion, but felt the former Brisbane Roar marksman could yet play a big role for Australia under another former striker in Graham Arnold.
"I'm a bit disappointed for him," Thompson said.
"Just for the fact that we probably haven't got, well we've got proven goalscorers but Timmy's coming to an age now where he can't play 90 minutes. Well, he probably could but his role and impact will be different in this World Cup.
"And there's been a lot of talk about Juric not getting on the scoresheet enough. But, if anything, World Cups bring out the best in players ... so it might just be those one or two goals from Juric that takes him to the next level.
"Jamie's got to feel a little but hard done by but it's just not his time.
"If anything this will just make him work and strive a little bit harder and the setback gives him that little bit more resilience. He'll come back a better player."
Thompson understood the pain of those left out, having played a regular role during 2014 World Cup qualifying before being among a host of veterans moved on when Ange Postecoglou took charge just before the Brazil tournament.
He also felt for "outstanding player" Alex Gersbach, along with Bailey Wright and Mitch Langerak, all of whom were favoured by Postecoglou but left out by van Marwijk.
"I've been a part of it before and then not selected and it hurts," Thompson said.
"Because you want to represent your country at a World Cup and that's the pinnacle."