Bolter Hrustic gets a spot in Socceroos squad
RISING attacking star Ajdin Hrustic and former Adelaide United defender Dylan McGowan are the new additions to the Socceroos squad for a significant batch of games in June.
Dutch-based Hrustic, 20, was locked in a tug of war between Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Socceroos, but picked Australia and could feature during a hectic three-week international schedule.
McGowan, who has signed for Portuguese top flight club Pacos de Ferreira, joins China-based brother Ryan McGowan in the squad for the first time.
Celtic attacker Tom Rogic returns from injury while Jamie Maclaren, who's just signed for German second division side Darmstadt, got a recall after another top A-League season.
Defender Rhys Williams, who just switched from Perth Glory to Melbourne Victory, is the only omission from the last squad.
Matthew Spiranovic is the only regular who's missed out after recent injury woes, though coach Ange Postecoglou will trim the squad to 23 on May 31 before an intensive month-long schedule begins.
The Socceroos host Saudi Arabia in a must-win clash at Adelaide Oval on June 8, before facing Brazil at the MCG on June 13, the day before they depart for the Confederations Cup in Russia.
"I'm happy with the 30-man squad we have been able to name for the upcoming June international window but initially our energy and focus will be solely on the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide," Postecoglou said.
"It is the most important game we will play over the June period.
"Saudi Arabia is the focus and we will work towards that game but after that match we have a good opportunity to test ourselves against the Number One country in the world and then expose the players to top international competition in World Cup country."
Hrustic, a left-footer who can play in a variety of roles, made seven appearances in his debut season, all off the bench, but managed to score his maiden goal.
He was labelled a standout by Olyroos coach Josep Gombau after a development camp last March in Spain.
The Socceroos are guaranteed three high-quality games, against Germany, Chile and Cameroon, with a semi-final spot up for grabs if they finish in the top two.
The Socceroos' World Cup fate will be decided later in the year, when they face Japan (August, away) and Thailand (September, home).
Saudi Arabia and Japan occupy the top two spots which guarantee automatic qualification for Russia 2018, while third spot means a dreaded playoff route via the other Asian group then North America (CONCACAF).
SOCCEROOS 30-MAN SQUAD FOR JUNE MATCHES
(Will be trimmed to 23 on May 31)
Mat Ryan (Genk, Belgium), Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart, Germany), Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC), Mark Birighitti (Swansea).
Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Milos Degenek (Yokohama, Japan), Trent Sainsbury (Inter Milan, Italy), Bailey Wright (Bristol City, England), Brad Smith (Bournemouth, England), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg, Norway), Dylan McGowan (Pacos de Ferreira, POR), Ryan McGowan (Guizhou Zhicheng, CHI).
Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), Mark Milligan (Baniyas, UAE), Jackson Irvine (Burton, England), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield, England), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz), Mustafa Amini (AGF, Denmark), Riley McGree (Adelaide), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic).
Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern, Switzerland), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt, Germany), Robbie Kruse (Uncontracted), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt, GER), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen, Netherlands).