New Socceroos coach, Graham Arnold, has named his squad for the Asian Cup in 2019, set to commence 5 January in the United Arab Emirates. The Socceroos are the defending champions, after winning the 2015 edition, which was hosted in Australia. Australia defeated South Korea 2-1 in extra time.
Anrold unveiled his 23-man squad set to defend the trophy next month, naming Aaron Mooy in the side, despite the midfield still under an injury cloud. Mooy was not deemed fit for Huddersfield Town, his Premier League club. Arnold has commented that both he and Mooy believe he will be fit to play in the tournament.
Socceroos physio, Phil Coles has travelled to England to assess how severe Mooy’s ankle injury may be. Arnold has stated that a final decision on Mooy’s ability to play will be made in the coming days.
Perth Glory attacker, Chris Ikonomidis, has been named in the line-up, with Tomi Juric missing out. Juric can consider himself unlucky, considering he played in the World Cup squad just five months ago. Nonetheless, Ikonomidis has been in incredible form for Perth Glory, scoring five goals in just 8 appearances. Moreover, Ikonomidis brings pace to the attack, which complements Arnold’s desire to play fast, high-intensity football.
Furthermore, Arnold has picked other quick attacking options in the form of Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Maclaren. Unfortunately, Australian fans will have to wait a while before they next see teenage sensation, Daniel Arzani, in the green and gold again. Making his debut for Celtic, Arzani came on in the last twenty minutes of the match. However, with ten to go, he tried to change direction, only for his leg to give way. He confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the Asian Cup.
With Mark Milligan leading the side as captain, following the retirement of Mile Jedinak, Arnold has also selected Mat Ryan as goalkeeper. With no more Tim Cahill, it appears this could be a new age for the Socceroos.