Melbourne Victory defender Jason Geria has been named in a 23-man squad for Australia’s crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month.
Geria, 22, is one of three uncapped players selected for matches against Tajikistan in Adelaide on March 24 and Jordan in Sydney on March 29.
Caltex Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou has also recalled former Victory players Robbie Kruse and Mitch Langerak, making nine changes to the squad in total.
“It’s great to be able to bring experienced players like Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak and Matthew Spiranovic back into the squad after missing recent matches, but it is equally exciting to see how a fresh crop of young players can fit into how we train and what we are trying to achieve,” Postecoglou said.
“We’ve worked hard on creating depth over the last two years and we now have a very solid and experienced spine to this team, but we must also continually give players an opportunity if we want to make an impact on the world stage.
“This squad contains a group of young players who we are bringing in while they are in form and taking good strides forward both here in the Hyundai A-League and at various leagues around the world.
“Getting that balance between winning football matches and giving players an opportunity is something we have been doing for two years and during that time we have had success and haven’t been let down by any of the young players.”
The Caltex Socceroos go into the final two matches in this stage of FIFA World Cup qualifying on top of Group B and will progress to the next round if they finish on top of Group B or as one of the best four second-placed teams from the eight groups.
“We are faced with two very important World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan in Adelaide and then Jordan in Sydney,” Postecoglou said.
“We have seen throughout the qualifiers that these teams offer unique challenges and this will be no different.
“The primary focus for us is to make sure we continue to play our brand of football that will deliver short-term success while building towards the bigger picture.
“This is the first time we have had back-to-back matches in Australia during this World Cup qualifying campaign and we look forward to seeing Socceroos fans in Adelaide and Sydney come out to get behind the team.”
The Caltex Socceroos’ matches against Tajikistan (Adelaide) and Jordan (Sydney) will be broadcast exclusively live on Fox Sports and on a one-hour delay on SBS.
Caltex Socceroos squad: Terry ANTONIS (PAOK, GREECE), Nathan BURNS (FC Tokyo, JAPAN), Tim CAHILL (Hangzhou Greentown FC, CHINA), Adam FEDERICI (AFC Bournemouth, ENGLAND), Jason GERIA (Melbourne Victory, AUSTRALIA), Alex GERSBACH (Rosenborg BK, NORWAY), Apostolos GIANNOU (Guangzhou R&F FC, CHINA), Chris IKONOMIDIS (U.S. Salernitana 1919, ITALY), Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND), Robbie KRUSE (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, GERMANY), Mitchell LANGERAK (VfB Stuttgart, GERMANY), Mathew LECKIE (FC Ingolstadt 04, GERMANY), Massimo LUONGO (Queens Park Rangers FC, ENGLAND), Ryan MCGOWAN (Henan Jianye FC, CHINA), Mark MILLIGAN (Baniyas FC, UAE), Aaron MOOY (Melbourne City, AUSTRALIA), Josh RISDON (Perth Glory, AUSTRALIA), Tommy ROGIC (Celtic FC, SCOTLAND), Mathew RYAN (Valencia CF, SPAIN), Trent SAINSBURY (Jiangsu Suning FC, CHINA), Brad SMITH (Liverpool FC, ENGLAND), Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Hangzhou Greentown FC, CHINA), Bailey WRIGHT (Preston North End FC, ENGLAND)
Australia v Tajikistan
Thursday, March 24, 8.00pm AEDT (7.30pm local)
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Australia v Jordan
Tuesday, March 29, 8.00pm AEDT
Allianz Stadium, Sydney