Adelaide United's Riley McGree, left, has caught the eye of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
Adelaide United's Riley McGree, left, has caught the eye of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou. Ryan Pierse

Postecoglou picks green teen

FOOTBALL: Adelaide 18-year-old Riley McGree will be part of the Socceroos' World Cup campaign, having survived the cut to Ange Postecoglou's squad.

The preliminary squad of 30 has been cut back to 23 for the games against Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The Socceroos play Iraq on March 23 in Tehran and then return home to play the UAE in Sydney five days later, in fixtures that could go a long way to determining whether Australia qualifies for its fourth consecutive World Cup.

Sydney FC duo Rhyan Grant and Danny Vukovic have also been included along with Melbourne City striker Tim Cahill, despite Postecoglou's concerns over the veteran's lack of game time.

The seven players removed from the long list of 30 are Awer Mabil, Alex Gersbach, Ryan Edwards, Craig Goodwin, Matt McKay, Chris Ikonomidis and Nathan Burns, though it is likely several of those will figure in a concurrent Olyroos training camp.

Rhys Williams and James Troisi are included, as expected, as part of a strong A-League contingent, but there are five players without a single cap - a substantial number given the importance of the games.

McGree has played only 12 A-League games for Adelaide, but has caught Postecoglou's eye with a series of strong displays in a struggling United side.

"We've come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football," Postecoglou said.

"I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and (they) come into camp playing well.

"We face two important games in five days and it's good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons, and I'm confident the group we've selected will be ready to hit the ground running."

"There are a lot of important matches in what shapes as a crucial year for the team, but the focus for us is simply Iraq on Thursday week and then the UAE in Sydney on March 28."

Socceroos squad: Mat Ryan, Mitchell Langerak, Danny Vukovic, Rhyan Grant, Milos Degenek, Trent Sainsbury, Rhys Williams, Bailey Wright, Brad Smith, Aziz Behich, Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, James Jeggo, Mustafa Amini, Riley McGree, Massimo Luongo, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse, James Troisi

News Corp Australia


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