New faces to join Socceroos for World Cup qualifiers

Socceroos and Olyroos coach Graham Arnold Source: Getty Images

Several new faces are poised to debut for the Socceroos when Australia's FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign resumes in Kuwait next month.

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Coach Graham Arnold has named seven uncapped players among his 31-strong squad for the matches against Kuwait, Taiwan, Nepal and Jordan as the Socceroos prepare to play their first matches in over 550 days.

Melbourne City's Connor Metcalfe is one of three new faces from the A-League along with Macarthur's Denis Genreau and Central Coast defender Ruon Tongyik.

Metcalfe is one of three players called up from the A-League premiers along with league top scorer Jamie Maclaren and defender Curtis Good, meaning City will be without the trio for this season's finals.

Sydney FC will have to chase a third consecutive championship without defenders Rhyan Grant, Ryan McGowan and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne following their selection.

Tongyik, a 24-year-old ex-Australian under-23 international who nearly represented his native South Sudan in 2019, will miss the Mariners' finals campaign after his call-up.

Western Sydney's Mitchell Duke and Perth's Chris Ikonomidis are the other A-League stars called up.

As well as Metcalfe, Tongyik and Genreau, a quartet of overseas-based players could debut in the upcoming fixtures for Australia.

English-based duo Riley McGree and Kenneth Dougall as well as Fran Karacic and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas are the other players in Arnold's squad without a cap.

There's also a recall for in-form forward Nikita Rukavytsya, who has been scoring regularly in Israel for Maccabi Haifa, after last being involved with the Socceroos in November 2017.

While regulars such as Mat Ryan, Jackson Irvine, Milos Degenek and Mathew Leckie have been selected, there's no place for midfielder Aaron Mooy, who is absent.

Arnold indicated some players were unavailable to take part in Australia's first matches since November 2019 for a variety of reasons.

"Our extended 31-player squad will provide us with the flexibility and adaptability that we will need given we will play four matches in 12 days," Arnold said.

"It is no secret that we had originally targeted to name this squad last week, however some challenges with COVID, as well as some injuries and personal circumstances, have meant some players were ruled out of the final reckoning."

Australia, who top their group with a maximum 12 points from four matches, return on the road to the 2022 World Cup against Kuwait on June 4 at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Stadium.


Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Kenneth Dougall, Mitchell Duke, Denis Genreau, Apostolos Giannou, Curtis Good, Rhyan Grant, James Holland, Ajdin Hrustic, Chris Ikonomidis, Jackson Irvine, Fran Karacic, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Ryan McGowan, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Andrew Redmayne, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart, Lawrence Thomas, Ruon Tongyik, Danny Vukovic.

Source AAP