Australia spring surprises in ‘exciting’ Asian Cup squad

Australia head coach Graham Arnold named a fresh-faced squad for the Asian Cup (DAVID GRAY)

Australia coach Graham Arnold said he was “excited by the potential” of his players at the Asian Cup after announcing a fresh-faced squad Friday, with a host of veterans cast aside.

The 2015 champions will be among the favourites at the tournament in Qatar — which kicks off on January 12 — after reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup in the same country.

Arnold omitted some of those who played in the World Cup as he looks to blood a new generation, with stalwarts including Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Bailey Wright and Milos Degenek out of form or injured.

Instead, uncapped trio Patrick Yazbek, who plays in Norway, Sydney FC youngster John Iredale and ex-Wales youth international Gethin Jones were called up.

Arnold also brought back Melbourne Victory’s 36-year-old Bruno Fornaroli, who has scored 12 goals in eight games this season.

Captain and goalkeeper Mat Ryan was picked despite undergoing recent surgery on a broken cheekbone.

“I’m excited about the potential within this group and am looking forward to getting into camp in the New Year,” said Arnold.

“At our core, we have an extremely connected group, who have built a strong culture over many years. We’re welcoming in some new players who I think will prove fantastic additions to that.

“It’s important that we bring energy and intensity to both our preparation and play, it’s something we’ve become renowned for and will be a big part of the group’s success moving forward,” he added.

The Socceroos will face India, Syria and Uzbekistan in Group B at the Asian Cup.


Goalkeepers: Joe Gauci (Adelaide United/AUS), Mat Ryan (AK Alkmaar/NED), Lawrence Thomas (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS)

Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson (Hearts/SCO), Aziz Behich (Melbourne City/AUS), Jordy Bos (KVC Westerlo/BEL), Cameron Burgess (Ipswich/ENG), Thomas Deng (Albirex Niigata/JPN), Gethin Jones (Bolton/ENG), Lewis Miller (Hibernian/SCO), Kye Rowles (Hearts/SCO), Harry Souttar (Leicester/ENG)

Midfielders: Keanu Baccus (St Mirren/SCO), Jackson Irvine (FC St Pauli/GER), Riley McGree (Middlesbrough/ENG), Connor Metcalfe (FC St Pauli/GER), Aiden O’Neill (Standard Liege/BEL), Patrick Yazbek (Viking FK/NOR)

Forwards: Martin Boyle (Hibernian/SCO), Mitchell Duke (FC Machida Zelvia/JPN), Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Craig Goodwin (Al Wehda/KSA), John Iredale (Wehen Wiesbaden/GER), Sam Silvera (Middlesbrough/ENG), Marco Tilio (Celtic/SCO), Kusini Yengi (Portsmouth/ENG)



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