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Another Socceroos squad, another selection debate

by Ben Somerford on Aug 08, 2012

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Another Socceroos squad announced, another mountain of debate on who should or shouldn't have been called up. And even though it's just a friendly against Scotland, GGArmy has taken five to analyse Holger Osieck's latest squad.

Interestingly if you look around social media and football forums, nowadays it's not Tim Cahill or Harry Kewell's absence but the inclusion of the likes of Archie Thompson, David Carney or Jason Davidson which garners discussion.

And for many fans, that's positive as we look for answers on who will be among the next generation of Socceroos and in a fairly meaningless friendly against Scotland (don't say that to any Aussies with Scottish heritage) this is an ideal opportunity to blood some youngsters.

So naming the likes of uncapped quartet Davidson, Ryan McGowan, Mitchell Langerak and Chris Herd is good news and that's pleased many on social media.

Osieck has also opted to recall Scott McDonald, who hasn't worn the green and gold since the Wales friendly almost 12 months ago. Former Celtic striker McDonald has had some good pre-season form for Middlesbrough and on familiar turf in Scotland may finally break his international duck.

Curiously Matt McKay (just back from injury in Korea) and Matt Spiranovic (who has just joined Al Arabi in Qatar) have been overlooked, while Joshua Kennedy and Michael Zullo miss out due to injury. However, that's the extent of Osieck's experimentation with the usual suspects making up the other 15 spots, as he tries to provide plenty of senior influence for the newcomers (hinting over-selecting youngsters may have upset the balance, with the senior members setting the standards in camp).

Some may argue there should've been room for more youngsters ahead of players such as Thompson (who is only A-League player in the squad) and Carney (who is battling for regular game time in Uzbekistan).

Thompson's inclusion in particular has left a lot of fans scratching their heads, but Osieck has previously made it clear he likes the energy and morale boost which the 33-year-old Melbourne Victory striker brings to the side and the camp.

The New Zealand-born striker's impact off the bench against Saudi Arabia in February with the side trailing 2-1 before running out 4-2 winners was a perfect example, while anyone who's had anything to do with Archie knows he's a bubbly personality whose positivity is infectious. Osieck obviously rates that important enough to ignore the fact Thompson is currently enduring the long A-League off-season and didn't really set the world on the fire in the second-half of last term after a bright start.

Thompson's inclusion also points to another issue facing the Socceroos and that's its lack of options in attack. Alex Brosque has become the Socceroos' key forward option (which appears certain given he's the only East Asia-based player selected), while behind him in the squad is Thompson, McDonald and the inconsistent but youthful Robbie Kruse.

However, there's many who'd like to see Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Leckie or perhaps even Eli Babalj get a chance (Luke DeVere in defence too), but the latter two haven't done enough at club level to warrant that call, while they're also trying to impress at new teams early in the season and Rukavytsya is currently nursing a calf strain, ruling him out.

Moving on to the youngsters included in the squad, the most significant two are McGowan and Davidson who win their first call-ups, with Herd and Langerak still uncapped but named before.

Former Australia youth international captain McGowan, who plays his club football in Edinburgh, has long been mooted as a senior Socceroo and is a valuable versatile defender. He's also been linked with the Scottish national team, so it could be the ideal chance to seal his allegiance with a debut cap against the Tartans.

Davidson, son of former Socceroo Alan, is less familiar to most Aussie fans, although his recent progress at Dutch Eredivisie club Heracles has won over Osieck, who must like the fact the 21-year-old is a naturally left-sided defender; a rare commodity for the green and gold.

Whether they'll get game time remains to be seen, with the usual suspects likely to make up the bulk of the starting XI and their inclusion more about giving Osieck a closer look at them and getting them familiar with the squad.

In the main, Osieck appears to have put together a fair list with a handful of uncapped youngsters, the returning McDonald and the usual suspects.