Sport Football Neill overlooked in Socceroos squad
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Neill overlooked in Socceroos squad

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Incumbent Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has been overlooked for Australia’s friendly match against Ecuador in another hit to his World Cup ambitions.

Neill and fellow stalwart Mark Bresciano were omissions from the Socceroos squad  named on Wednesday for next week’s match in London, with coach Ange Postecoglou favouring more fresh faces.

The March 5 match is Postecoglou’s last chance to cast any eye over players before naming a preliminary squad for the World Cup starting in June.

Incumbent Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has been overlooked for Australia’s friendly match against Ecuador in another hit to his World Cup ambitions.

Neill and fellow stalwart Mark Bresciano were omissions from the Socceroos squad named on Wednesday for next week’s match in London, with coach Ange Postecoglou favouring more fresh faces.

The March 5 match is Postecoglou’s last chance to cast any eye over players before naming a preliminary squad for the World Cup starting in June.

Neill on Tuesday landed a short-term deal with England Championship club Watford in a bid to keep alive his hope of playing a third World Cup.

But the signing came too late for the Ecuador clash, with Tim Cahill now likely to assume the captaincy for the key World Cup warm up match.

Curtis Good (Dundee United), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town) and Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf) will all press for a Socceroos debut after being called up in the 23-man squad while Luke Wilkshire, Adam Sarota and Brad Jones feature under Postecoglou for the first time.

A-League players Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar) and Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers) are in the squad and will depart Australia following this weekend’s matches.

Postecoglou said the 23-man squad rewarded players in solid form.

“The squad to face Ecuador represents the first steps in what I believe is the building of the next golden generation for Australian football, acknowledging there is a need to balance experimentation and experience to achieve this,” Postecoglou said.

“The Ecuador match gives this group of players an opportunity to stake a claim for the World Cup.

“They have been rewarded for playing consistent and strong football and shows that age and limited international experience are not barriers to opportunity.”

Postecoglou recalled three players – Wilkshire, Sarota and Jones – who missed his first match as Socceroos coach, a 1-0 win against Costa Rica last November.

“Ecuador is a very important game for us,” Postecoglou said.

“It’s the last game (before World Cup squad selection) and it’s a quality opponent. Ecuador made the World Cup and it will be a tough challenge for us.”

Postecoglou must announced his preliminary World Cup squad in May.

“Selection in the final squad for the World Cup is still very much an open door,” he said.

“There were quite a few players, particularly those in Asia whose leagues are just beginning, who are still very much on the radar.

“There are also a few players who are very much a part of my thinking and plans for the World Cup who are not playing.”

SOCCEROOS SQUAD

  • Oliver BOZANIC (FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND)
  • Tim CAHILL (New York Red Bulls, USA)
  • Jason DAVIDSON (SC Heracles Almelo, NETHERLANDS)
  • Ivan FRANJIC (Brisbane Roar FC, AUSTRALIA)
  • Curtis GOOD (Dundee United FC, SCOTLAND)
  • Ben HALLORAN (Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY)
  • Chris HERD (Aston Villa FC, ENGLAND)
  • James HOLLAND (FK Austria Vienna, AUSTRIA)
  • Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND)
  • Brad JONES (Liverpool FC, ENGLAND)
  • Mitchell LANGERAK (B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY)
  • Matthew LECKIE (FSV Frankfurt 1899, GERMANY)
  • Massimo LUONGO (Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND)
  • Ryan MCGOWAN (Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, CHINA)
  • Matthew MCKAY (Brisbane Roar FC, AUSTRALIA)
  • Mark MILLIGAN (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)
  • Tommy OAR (FC Utrecht, HOLLAND)
  • Tommy ROGIC (Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA)
  • Matt RYAN (Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM)
  • Adam SAROTA (FC Utrecht, HOLLAND)
  • Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA)
  • Dario VIDOSIC (FC Sion, SWITZERLAND)
  • Luke WILKSHIRE (FK Dinamo Moscow, RUSSIA)

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