Midfielder Tommy Oar has been rewarded for a strong run of club form with selection in Holger Osieck's 22-man Australia squad to face Iraq later this month.
Oar, who hasn't featured in an Osieck-selected squad after bursting onto the international scene in 2010, has starred for fifth-placed Eredivisie club FC Utrecht this season, playing on the right side of an attacking front three.
The ex-Brisbane Roar attacker created his team's only goal in its last Eredivsie clash against Roda JC, when Dave Bulthuis got on the end of his wickedly dipping free-kick in the 24th minute to earn a 1-0 win.
Oar made his Australia debut in the 2011 Asian Cup qualifying 1-0 win over Indonesia. His star turn prompted comparisons to Harry Kewell, but after being culled from Pim Verbeek's preliminary extended 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, Oar has found himself in the international wilderness. Until now.
When asked whether Oar would be shunted to the backline to cover the troublesome left back role, Osieck said: "I don't see Tommy in a defensive role. I want to use him in more of an attacking role, considering all the talent he has to offer."
Osieck all but admitted that Matt McKay's versatility and maturity will see him shifted from midfield to left-back.
"He's quick, he's a good passer and he can get involved on the overlap... he can offer a lot to the position," Osieck said.
Joining Oar is his club team-mate Adam Sarota and Carl Valeri while versatile Melbourne Victory defender Mark Milligan returns to the fold after serving a one-match suspension for a red-card against Japan in June.
As reported by The World Game, clubless David Carney missed the cut, with Osieck stressing the need for members of the squad to being playing regularly.
Sasa Ognenovski and Jason Davidson were not considered due to recent injuries while goalkeeper Adam Federici, out of favour at Reading, missed out again.
"We know we are in a very special situation right now," Osieck said.
"This has become a crucial game but I'm very confident with the players available we can do it and get the points that we need."
While keeping the faith with the majority of the squad that lost to Jordan last month, Osieck put his senior players on notice, saying they need to provide better guidance for the rest of the group as Australia looks to get its qualification campaign back on track.
"I have to be very critical. I expect in particular from what you call senior players the guidance for the entire group and I will get that pretty clearly across when we have the opening of the camp in Doha," he said.
"It's not enough to enter the pitch and do some stuff and after the final whistle you are relieved of your duties. It's ongoing, starting from the moment we arrive in our hotel to when we depart."
Osieck has scrapped a planned warm-up match against United Arab Emirates, feeling it would be detrimental to play another match in difficult Middle Eastern conditions.
This will be the eighth meeting between the Socceroos and Iraq at senior men’s international level.
The most recent meeting was in the quarter-finals of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where the Socceroos were victorious 1-0 thanks to Kewell's extra-time goal.
Australia is third in Group B after draws against Oman (0-0) and Japan (1-1) and a loss loss to Jordan (1-2) in its opening matches of the final round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Iraq is in fourth place of Group B after draws with Jordan (1-1) and Oman (1-1) and a loss to Japan (0-1).
Socceroos squad is:
Mark BRESCIANO, Alex BROSQUE,Tim CAHILL, James HOLLAND, Brett HOLMAN, Mile JEDINAK, Brad JONES (gk), Robbie KRUSE, Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), Ryan McGOWAN, Matthew McKAY, Mark MILLIGAN, Lucas NEILL, Jade NORTH, Tommy OAR, Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, Adam SAROTA, Mark SCHWARZER (gk), Matthew SPIRANOVIC, Archie THOMPSON, Carl VALERI, Luke WILKSHIRE.