Australian coach Ange Postecoglou has included a 21-year-old who was arrested in connection with spot-fixing in his preliminary Socceroos squad for the World Cup in Brazil starting next month.
Postecoglou on Wednesday unveiled a 30-man squad including defender Bailey Wright, who plays in England’s third-tier competition.
Wright, from League One outfit Preston North End, was one of six players from the club arrested last month in an English spot-fixing investigation.
Wright, who has denied wrongdoing, was expected to answer bail at the end of the World Cup.
The 21-year-old’s selection comes as Postecoglou seeks to form a revamped defence, given veteran centre-backs Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski were overlooked for the squad and another defensive candidate, Trent Sainsbury, was ruled out by a knee injury.
Postecoglou’s squad features 10 players from the domestic A-League, including international novices Luke Brattan, James Troisi and Josh Brillante.
“It’s inexperienced but a great opportunity for some of these younger players,” Postecoglou told reporters in Sydney.
“We needed to change the direction of our national team … we needed to regenerate.
“There is no doubt in my mind we need to make some meaningful change in the players we selected.”
The average of the squad is 22.5-years-old.
Postecoglou named midfielder Mile Jedinak, who is vying with Tim Cahill to replace Neill as captain, despite the Crystal Palace skipper being sidelined for the next three weeks with a groin strain.
Four goalkeepers were named in the squad with Belgium-based Mat Ryan the likely first-choice ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s Mitch Langerak and A-Leaguers Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti.
Postecoglou will cut three players from the squad the day after Australia’s friendly against South Africa in Sydney on May 26.
The final 23-man squad will be named in Brazil on June 2 ahead of World Cup fixtures against Chile on June 13, the Netherlands on June 18 and Spain on June 23.
“We are facing the best in the world and we want to measure against that,” Postecoglou said.
Defenders: Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Jason Davidson (Heracles), Curtis Good (Newcastle United), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Bailey Wright (Preston North End).
Midfielders: Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Adam Sarota (Utrecht), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Josh Brillante (Newcastle Jets)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), James Troisi (Atalanta), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf)