Jedinak, Cahill among 20-man Australian squad
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia captain Mile Jedinak and 71-cap veteran Tim Cahill were among 12 members of the country’s World Cup squad named Thursday by coach Ange Postecoglou for matches against Belgium and Saudi Arabia in September.
The 20-man squad contained four uncapped players — Brad Smith, Chris Herd, Trent Sainsbury and Bailey Wright — as well as young A-League players Terry Antonis and Tomi Juric.
Smith made his English Premier League debut last season for Liverpool but is now on loan to Swindon Town in League One. Born in Australia to English parents, he was eligible to represent either country.
But after playing for England at the under-17 and under-21 levels, the 20-year-old defender confirmed he will play for Australia. Postecoglou said the necessary paperwork has been lodged with FIFA to make the switch.
“I wouldn’t force anyone to play for our country. I don’t think that’s how it goes,” Postecoglou said. “He’s very keen to represent his country and we want to give him an opportunity to do that.”
Postecoglou said injuries ruled out Rhys Williams, Curtis Good, Tom Rogic, Matthew Spiranovic, Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic. He said veterans Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy could play in matches in October and November ahead of next year’s Asian Cup in Australia.
“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,” Postecoglou said. “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.”
Australia plays Belgium at Liege on Sept. 4 and Saudi Arabia at Craven Cottage, London on Sept. 8.
Australian squad: Terry Antonis, Joshua Brillante, Tim Cahill, Jason Davidson, Ben Halloran, Chris Herd, Mile Jedinak (captain), Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak (goalkeeper), Matthew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Mat Ryan (goalkeeper), Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Carl Valeri, Alex Wilkinson, Bailey Wright.