Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has revealed he’s held talks with Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones over a long-awaited return for Australia.
Expressing his surprise on Dutch TV at the 35-year-old’s non-selection by Ange Postecoglou, the Dutchman opened the door to a possible World Cup spot for the four-cap gloveman, whose last appearance for Australia was in 2014.
Van Marwijk, who will soon name his squad for next month’s friendlies against Colombia and Norway, told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk program: "When I speak to someone, he also feels that he has a chance, and I was surprised that he (Jones) had not been with the national team in recent years".
"I talked to him about that. It was a very pleasant conversation, he was very positive about the national team, I am glad about that."
Jones featured just once during Postecoglou's reign, but is hoping his successor van Marwijk rewards him for nearly three seasons of exemplary form in the Eredivisie, where he has kept 11 clean sheets in all competitions for fourth-placed Feyenoord this season.
He was instrumental in the Rotterdam-based club, twice coached by van Marwijk, capturing their first league title in 18 years last season, with 17 clean sheets.
Jones - who turns 36 next month - also has the backing of legendary Socceroos keeper and former Middlesbrough teammate Mark Schwarzer in his quest for a recall.
"He’s in the best form of his career and has just got better with age," Schwarzer said.
"He deserves a call up because his form clearly warrants it. I am not sure why Ange Postecoglou didn't select him but that was his prerogative.
"However, with a new coach comes a new opportunity and I am sure Brad is more than ready to step up if the chance comes again.
"He's flourished in Holland, and is producing the performances week-in week-out at a very good club."
Jones, who made his debut in a friendly against Uruguay in 2007, last featured with a 45-minute cameo in a 4-3 loss to Ecuador in London in 2014.
He's missed just one league game this season, and made five appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
Jones has reinvented himself in the Netherlands after a sometimes stop-start career in England, which also included spells with Liverpool, Derby and Bradford City.
His likely national team return would heighten the intensity of competition for incumbent Mat Ryan, with Japan-based Mitch Langerak and Genk's Danny Vukovic the nominal back-ups of late.
"Ange (had) a specific way of playing and mangers throughout your career have a certain view of you as a player, some like you and some don't," Schwarzer said.
"None of that will have affected Brad, who has shown great mental strength and determination to get to where he is now.
"He's been very unlucky to miss out in the last four years for Australia and should a recall come now, he'd be an excellent addition to the World Cup squad.
"I can visualise him playing for another four or five years at a top level because he’s looked after himself very well, and the desire is still clearly there.”