Canberra: Australia’s national football team, the Socceroos, have left out stalwart skipper Mile Jedinak from the 23-man squad for its crucial remaining World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.
Jedinak, who plays for Aston Villa in England, has been hampered by a groin injury for some time and has not played competitive league football since April, prompting Australia coach Ange Postecoglou to call Jedinak with the news overnight, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We wanted to give him every chance and he was very keen to be a part of it,” Postecoglou said while announcing the squad on Wednesday. “But speaking to him last night, he was probably not going to get in that game that he needs to see how he feels.
“And with it being a fairly long trip – and with his long absence from game time – probably he felt he wasn’t right. From that perspective, he ruled himself out,” he added.
Australia must secure four points from its remaining two matches in order to qualify for the World Cup finals. But a tough road trip to Japan forced Postecoglou to select a relatively experienced squad for the qualifiers – with just two uncapped players among the 23 selected.
A number of Socceroos ply their trade at club level in Europe. Postecoglou said many of the selection decisions were made on the back of strong performances from the start of the European season.
Australia will play Japan in Saitama on August 31 and will host Thailand in Melbourne on September 5.
Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan, Daniel Vukovic.
Defenders: Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright.
Midfielders: Mustafa Amini, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi.
Strikers: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren.