Sainsbury headlines uncapped quartet of Socceroos

Trent Sainsbury is recovering from an ankle problem and will be keen to get a chance to impress in the green and gold next month.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has moved to broaden the base of international players ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup by selecting four new faces, and four A-League players, for the September internationals against Belgium and Saudi Arabia.

The 20-man squad contains uncapped players Brad Smith, Chris Herd, Trent Sainsbury and Bailey Wright as well as A-League youngsters Terry Antonis and Tomi Juric.

Robbie Kruse, Carl Valeri and Josh Brillante have been recalled to the Socceroos squad.

Twelve members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final squad, including captain Mile Jedinak and talisman Tim Cahill.

The Socceroos face Belgium at Stade Maurice Dufrasne in Leige on Thursday 4 September at 8.45pm (Friday 5 September 4.45am AEST) and Saudi Arabia at Craven Cottage in London on Monday 8 September at 8.00pm (Tuesday 9 September 5am AEST).

After naming the squad, Postecoglou declared Socceroos selections would continue to be bold as he builds a broader base of international players in Australia's pursuit of becoming the best team in Asia.

"The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we're going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity," Postecoglou said.

"After the World Cup campaign we had a break and I had a bit of a chance to think about everything that transpired over the last six to eight months, culminating in the World Cup.

"One thing that came out, that was evident to me, is that we need to broaden our base and get some depth in various positions in our squad.

"From our perspective these games are a chance to expose some young players to international football and hopefully create some depth in areas we're light on.

"We want a really strong squad for the Asian Cup and we are only going to get that if we have a look at some more players."

One player that fits Postecoglou's blueprint to broaden the base is left-sided player Brad Smith, who has been called into the Socceroos squad for the first time after making his English Premier League debut last year for Liverpool.

"Brad's a player we have been monitoring since I've been in the job and he plays in a position where we don’t have a great deal of depth. He plays left back and left side and he’s quick," Postecoglou said.

"Brad's a young player who is making his way in the football world. He’s contracted to Liverpool Football Club and obviously been loaned out to Swindon to get some games under his belt.

"Brad's played for the England U21s as recently as a couple of months ago but he's very committed to playing for Australia and after having a chat to him we are really keen to get him in the green and gold and give him an opportunity."

Postecoglou acknowledged injuries ruled out Rhys Williams (knee), Curtis Good (hip-flexor), Tom Rogic (groin), Matthew Spiranovic (ankle), Matt McKay (ankle), Ivan Franjic (knee) and Adam Taggart (ankle).

"We're always going to have injuries, that's the reason we need to create some real depth ... so that leading into the Asian Cup we have some options," Postecoglou said.

"I felt we didn't have a lot of options going into the World Cup.

"So with that in mind we've made a number of changes for the upcoming friendlies and given the opportunity to a number of players who haven't been involved or have been on the periphery to get some game-time and put their case forward."

Postecoglou said he had been monitoring striker Juric, who impressed in the A-League All Stars match against Juventus and the Wanderers' 1-0 AFC Champions League victory over Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday night.

"With Adam Taggart still out injured we're thin up front. We've obviously got Timmy Cahill but Tomi's one we want to have a look at," Postecoglou said.

Experienced campaigners Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy have been left out but are still very much in the frame for the internationals in October and November ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Off the back of that Melbourne Victory midfielder Valeri has been recalled after a long absence, and with 50 appearances to his name is the second-most capped player in the squad after Cahill.

"I was pretty mindful that players like Bresciano and Josh Kennedy weren't selected so I didn't want to go with too young a squad. We needed some experience and Carl fits that bill," Postecoglou said.

"He's only just turned 30 so if he's fit and well he's certainly someone who comes well into the frame for the Asian Cup."

The 20-man Socceroos squad is:



A-International Caps(goals)



3 (0)


ACF Fiorentina, ITALY

1 (0)


New York Red Bulls, USA

71 (34)


West Bromwich Albion F.C., ENGLAND

10 (0)


Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY

5 (0)

Chris HERD

Aston Villa FC, ENGLAND



Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND

47 (5)


Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA

3 (1)

Robbie KRUSE

TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, GERMANY

29 (3)

Mitchell LANGERAK (gk)

B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY

3 (0)

Matthew LECKIE

FC Ingolstadt 04, GERMANY

11 (1)

Massimo LUONGO

Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND

1 (0)


Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA

30 (2)

Tommy OAR


18 (1)

Mat RYAN (gk)

Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM

10 (0)





Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND



Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA

50 (1)


Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC

6 (0)


Preston North End FC, ENGLAND


Source Football Federation Australia