Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak faces of young Australia World Cup squad
Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak will lead an inexperienced Australia in their tough World Cup campaign in Brazil after a provisional 30-man squad was announced on Wednesday.
Coach Ange Postecoglou named Preston North End’s Bailey Wright as a surprise selection with Cahill preparing for his third World Cup and Jedinak coming off an excellent English Premier League season with Crystal Palace.
Wright, the 21-year-old English-based central defender, who has yet to play for his country, was one of two unexpected picks, along with Fortuna Dusseldorf forward Ben Halloran.
Only eight players -- Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Jedinak, Mark Bresciano, Luke Wilkshire, Eugene Galekovic and Dario Vidosic -- remain from the squad that went to South Africa in 2010.
Wright has been a fixture for League One side Preston for the past two years and has played three games at Australian under-17 level.
“He’s only a young man beginning his career, but he’s had some really strong consistent form for Preston North End,” Postecoglou said.
“He’s one that has played almost 50 games this season, is in good solid form and made me bring him in and look at him in a national team environment.”
It is a Socceroos side in transition following the dropping of former captain and defender Lucas Neill and the recent international retirements of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, forward Harry Kewell and midfielders Brett Emerton and Brett Holman.
“There is some inexperience in going to a World Cup, for the majority of these players it will be their first World Cup, but we do have some experience in the squad,” Postecoglou said.
“But at the same time it’s an opportunity for some of these younger players to forge their own national team careers.”
Postecoglou said he was far from daunted at his young team facing the might of reigning world champions Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B.
“We are going on to the biggest stage in the world facing absolutely the best in the world and we want to measure ourselves against that,” he said.
“We have over 15,000 Aussies going over to watch the games and we’ll have the whole nation watching in the middle of the night.
“I’m not going to tell them not to get up and not feel great about it.
“I want them to feel excited about watching this team and maybe give them that glimpse into the future and, who knows, maybe take them on a bit of a wild ride where the unexpected happens.”
Cahill, the former Everton star who is now with the New York Red Bulls, is preparing for his third World Cup and is the talisman of the team.
“We are going there with no fear and obviously make sure we make a good account of ourselves,” Cahill told Fox Sports.
“If you get through a group like this then anything is possible, but at the same time the first game is the most important one.
The squad will play a friendly against South Africa on May 26, two days before heading to Brazil, where they will play their first game against Chile on June 13.
The final 23-man squad will be named on June 2.
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)
Defenders: Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney), Curtis Good (Newcastle United), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng)
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Josh Brilliante (Newcastle Jets)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt)
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Published: May 14, 2014 04:00 AM