Besieged Osieck names new Socceroos faces
By Football News
Holger Osieck has included Mathew Leckie, Oliver Bozanic and Jackson Irvine in the latest Socceroos squad.
Osieck's position has been the subject of intense scrutiny following the embarrassing 6-0 friendly defeat to Brazil on September 7, with fans and media alike calling for major changes ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Seeking to combat the criticism, and possibly acting under orders from Football Federation Australia, Osieck has picked a larger group of 24 players with several notable changes, for the matches against France in Paris on October 11 and Canada at Fulham's Craven Cottage four days later.
Among the major absentees from the previous squad is stalwart goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who has been left out after spending the early part of this season on the bench at Chelsea. Robbie Cornthwaite, Ryan McGowan and Mitchell Duke have also been axed.
Of the new faces to receive a nod, FSV Frankfurt striker Leckie is joined by his club team-mate Nikita Rukavytsya, on loan from Mainz, as well as Luzern's attacking midfielder Bozanic and Celtic's central midfielder Irvine, who is on loan at Kilmarnock.
They are joined by Jason Davidson of Eredivisie side Heracles, while there is a return for fellow fullback David Carney, who is attempting to relaunch his career at New York Red Bulls.
Carney's club colleague Tim Cahill and Dinamo Moscow's Luke Wilkshire are back after withdrawing from the squad to face Brazil due to injury, while Dario Vidosic - now with Swiss side FC Sion - has been recalled.
It remains to be seen which combination of players Osieck will choose to field at the Parc de Princes, where another capitulation could signal the end of his three-year tenure in charge of the national team.
Regardless of the outcome, two A-League clubs are set to lose out, as the two international fixtures clash with the opening round of the domestic season.
Mark Milligan of Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar's Matt McKay will be away when their clubs begin the 2013-14 campaign, but Milligan's team-mate Archie Thompson will be free to take on Melbourne Heart in round one after he was also omitted by Osieck.
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund)
Defenders: Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Lucas Neill (Omiya Ardija), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), David Carney (New York Red Bulls), Jason Davidson (Heracles)
Midfielders: Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Brett Holman (Al Nasr), Mile Jedinak (Nagoya Grampus), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Nikita Rukavytsya (FSV Frankfurt)