8 August 2012 04:50
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has given a selection reprieve to striker Scott McDonald for next week’s friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh, while youngsters Jason Davidson and Ryan McGowan have also been included for the first time.
With stalwarts Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill both unavailable, and several other senior Socceroos recovering from off-season injuries, Osieck has opted for some experimentation ahead of the next batch of World Cup qualifiers, giving Dutch-based Davidson, son of former Socceroo Alan, and Hearts defender McGowan a chance.
Osieck has also recalled Brett Holman, just days out from a possible first game from Aston Villa in the Premier League, while McDonald gets his chance to resurrect a national career which has yielded plenty of frustration with 25 appearances and no goals.
McDonald was a star striker for Celtic in his time in Scotland and will hope he can recapture that form in what could be his last chance to prove his international credentials.
Chris Herd is named in the squad and may get a chance to make his Australian debut.
Lucas Neill will captain the side despite not having a club, but Kewell will sit out as he decides his footballing future and Cahill is committed to staying in New York with his new club.
Archie Thompson will make the trip to Scotland as the only A-League player in the squad, while
Alex Brosque, David Carney and Mark Bresciano will travel from their Asian-based clubs.
Osieck said it was more important for Kewell to sort out his club future rather than embark on international duty.
“It’s very unfortunate for him that right now he is hanging in between with no club and still waiting for some kind of signing and I hope that will work out quickly, I still think he has great potential,” Osieck said.
“Lucas is in a very different situation in that he has been working with clubs and is close to re-signing again with one of the Middle Eastern teams.
“In his role as captain he is very important to me and to the team.”
Socceroos squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, David Carney, Jason Davidson, Adam Federici, Chris Herd, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Scott McDonald, Ryan McGowan, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams.