Australia’s next generation of football talent has been given the nod to start the Socceroos’ path to the 2022 World Cup.
Coach Graham Arnold has picked 12 players with 10 caps or fewer to their name in his 23-man squad for the opening qualifier against Kuwait on Sept. 10.
Scottish-born Stoke City defender Harry Souttar, on loan at Fleetwood Town in England’s League One, is the only uncapped player in the squad, with Brandon Borrello, Ajdin Hrustic and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne all boasting just one cap each.
On the other end of the experience scale, captain Mark Milligan has ended doubts about his ongoing international career with the 34-year-old named in what will be his 80th appearance for the national team.
“I find it exciting for the Socceroos and the nation that there were so many more players in contention for this squad,” Arnold said.
“I am expecting healthy competition for places in the starting side for Kuwait and our upcoming qualification matches as we target a winning start on our journey to Qatar.”
In-form striker Adam Taggart, who leads the scoring charts in South Korea’s K-League, has also been named after making his first Socceroos appearance in five years in a 1-0 friendly defeat to South Korea in Busan in June.
Australia’s players will gather in a training camp in the United Arab Emirates in the week before the qualifying opener against Kuwait.
The Socceroos beat Kuwait 4-0 last October in a friendly that also marked the start of Arnold’s second stint in charge of the national team.
SOCCEROOS SQUAD TO PLAY KUWAIT
Mustafa Amini, Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Milos Degenek, Apostolos Giannou, Craig Goodwin, Rhyan Grant, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Redmayne, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart.