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Postecoglou defends rookie Aussie World Cup squad

15 May 2014 01:46:52

Postecoglou defends rookie Aussie World Cup squad

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has defended his preliminary World Cup squad, which is shaping up as the most inexperienced of any nation at next month's tournament in Brazil.

Postecoglou, who has only been in the job since October, on Wednesday named a 30-man squad featuring 10 locally based players, two uncapped, 19 with 10 caps or fewer and with an average age of 25.5.

Only eight players -- Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Mark Bresciano, Luke Wilkshire, Eugene Galekovic and Dario Vidosic -- remain from the squad that went to South Africa in 2010 and only five of those played in Germany four years earlier.

It is a Socceroos side in transition following the dropping of former captain and defender Lucas Neill and the recent international retirements of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, forward Harry Kewell and midfielders Brett Emerton and Brett Holman.

The Australian newspaper said Thursday the loss of players such as Neill, Schwarzer and Kewell means the Socceroos will have lost almost 600 caps of experience since the 2010 finals.

That will be keenly felt with Australia to face world champions Spain, runners-up Holland and Chile in Group B in Brazil.

Postecoglou, tasked with rebuilding the side, said that was the way it had to be.

"I know that's what people are going to focus on but how are we ever going to get caps if they don't play games?" he said.

"We're always going to have guys stuck on one or two caps if we don't give them an opportunity. At some point that process has got to start and I made the decision fairly early that it would start now not down the track.

"So I was always going to have guys who've played one or two games but that doesn't mean that you can't be successful or they won't be able to cope. At some point all those players who have played umpteen times for our country played their first game."

The squad went into a 10-day camp on Thursday in the lead-up to their farewell game against South Africa in Sydney on May 26, with three players to be cut the following day.

Postecoglou will name his final 23-man squad on June 2 before the Socceroos open their campaign against Chile on June 13.


AFP

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