Ange Postecoglou has named Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak in the 25-man squad to face Honduras in the final stage of World-Cup qualifying.
Jedinak, who hasn’t played for the national team since June, returned from injury for English club Aston Villa on the weekend and will be a huge boost to Australia’s World Cup ambitions.
Football analyst and former Socceroo Mark Bosnich emphasised Jedinak’s importance in the first leg due to fellow defensive midfielder Mark Milligan’s suspension.
“It was great to see him back. He’s been absent for quite some time,” Bosnich on Fox Sports Bill & Boz on Monday night.
“With everything that’s been going on with Ange Postecoglou and the team not doing particularly well, I think it has been overlooked to an extent that we have missed him and quite a lot.
“With Mark Milligan out and suspended, who plays pretty much in his position, I think it’s integral for me that he plays in that first game away to Honduras because if there’s ever going to be a time where we need experience and a cool head, it’s going to be in that first encounter.”
Mark Birighitti, Jamie Maclaren, Mustafa Amini, Ajdin Hrustic and Awer Mabil have been cut from the squad, whilst full-back Alex Gersbach and midfielder James Jeggo were added to the final 25-man list.
Socceroo legend Tim Cahill was again named in the side, and will likely line up in both fixtures, whilst suspended duo Matthew Leckie and Mark Milligan were included and will provide vital fresh legs in the second leg.
Coach Ange Postecoglou is confident his side can take Australia to its fourth consecutive World Cup appearance.
“It has been pleasing to see so many of our players performing strongly for their clubs domestically and abroad, and I believe that puts us in good stead for our upcoming play-off matches,” Postecoglou said.
“With two games in five days and extensive travel between the fixtures, every member of our squad will play an important role this November.
“We’ll be looking to get positive result in San Pedro Sula, before aiming to seal a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in front of our home fans in Sydney.”
The Socceroos play away in Honduras on November 11, before playing in Sydney on the 15th of November.
Goalkeepers: Matthew Ryan, Mitchell Langerak, Danny Vukovic.
Defenders: Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Bailey Wright.
Midfielders: Aziz Behich, Mathew Leckie, Alex Gersbach, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Josh Risdon, James Troisi.
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Nikita Rukavytsya.