MELBOURNE (Reuters) - New Australia coach Graham Arnold has scoured Europe’s leagues for young talent and included five uncapped players in a maiden Socceroos squad that he expects to win every match at the Asian Cup.
Arnold, who succeeded Dutchman Bert van Marwijk after the Socceroos were dumped out of the World Cup’s group phase, named a pair of Netherlands-based teenagers in attacking midfielder Denis Genreau and striker John Iredale in his 31-man squad released on Thursday.
Scotland-based left back Ben Garuccio and midfielder Kenneth Dougall, who plays for Barnsley in England’s third tier, will also report for their first Socceroos camp in Antalya, Turkey next week.
Former Adelaide United winger Awer Mabil, who has represented Australia at junior levels, will hope to break into a side that is desperate for new attacking options after the retirement of veteran forward Tim Cahill.
Arnold said he was eager to spend time with the players on and off the pitch as they look to build ahead of their Asian Cup title defence in the United Arab Emirates in January.
“We go to the Asian Cup expecting to win every game and we’re going to the World Cup expecting to win games,” Arnold told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
“I have the huge belief that we do have the attack. I think maybe the style in the past it relied on that one person to score goals and that was Timmy (Cahill).
“We need to, and we will, get players – the key players – on the ball in the right areas and we’ve got speed up front with penetration. It’s about getting players in the penalty box, in the right areas, to score goals.”
Arnold has recalled a number of players cast adrift by Van Marwijk including defender Bailey Wright, striker Apostolos Giannou and goalkeeper Mitch Langerak.
Australia have confirmed an Asian Cup warmup with regional power South Korea in Brisbane on Nov. 17 and on Thursday announced a second home friendly in Sydney against Lebanon on Nov. 20.
The Lebanon game may also double as a farewell for Cahill, who retired from international football after the World Cup with 50 goals from 107 appearances.
Arnold is also looking to organise another match in the Middle East during the international window in October.
Three of Australia’s World Cup players, Mathew Leckie, Tom Rogic and Andrew Nabbout, were omitted due to injury.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Peter Rutherford