Milligan, Valeri get Socceroos nod


Melbourne Victory stars Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri have today received call-ups to Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad.

Valeri returns to the national side after joining Victory at the start of the club’s pre-season and will be looking to add to his 50 international caps.

Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has moved to broaden the base of international players ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup by selecting a group of new faces for the matches against Belgium and Saudi Arabia in September.

The 20-man squad contains four uncapped players Brad Smith, Chris Herd, Trent Sainsbury and Bailey Wright.

Robbie Kruse, Carl Valeri and Josh Brillante have also been recalled to the Socceroos squad along with 12 members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final squad, including Captain Mile Jedinak and talisman Tim Cahill.

After naming the squad, Postecoglou declared Socceroos squad selections would continue to be bold as he builds a broader base of international players in Australia’s pursuit to become the best team in Asia.

“The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we’re going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity,” Postecoglou said.

“After the World Cup campaign we had a break and I had a bit of a chance to think about everything that transpired over the last six to eight months, culminating in the World Cup.

“One thing that came out, that was evident to me, is that we need to broaden our base and get some depth in various positions in our squad.

“From our perspective these games are a chance to expose some young players to international football and hopefully create some depth in areas we’re light on.

“We want a really strong squad for the Asian Cup and we are only going to get that if we have a look at some more players.”

One player that fits Postecoglou’s blueprint to broaden the base is left-sided player Brad Smith, who has been called into the Socceroos squad for the first time after making his English Premier League debut last year for Liverpool.

“Brad’s a player we have been monitoring since I’ve been in the job and he plays in a position where we don’t have a great deal of depth. He plays left back and left side and he’s quick,” Postecoglou said.

“Brad’s a young player who is making his way in the football world. He’s contracted to Liverpool Football Club and obviously been loaned out to Swindon to get some games under his belt.

“Brad’s played for the England U21s as recently as a couple of months ago but he’s very committed 

to playing for Australia and after having a chat to him we are really keen to get him in the green and gold and give him an opportunity.”

Postecoglou acknowledged injuries ruled out Rhys Williams, Curtis Good, Tom Rogic, Matthew Spiranovic, Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic with experienced campaigners Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy still in line for matches in October and November ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.”

The 20-man Socceroos squad:
(NAME CLUB, COUNTRY A-International Caps)

Terry ANTONIS Sydney FC, AUSTRALIA 3 (0)
Joshua BRILLANTE ACF Fiorentina, ITALY 1 (0)
Tim CAHILL New York Red Bulls, USA 71 (34)
Jason DAVIDSON West Bromwich Albion F.C., ENGLAND 10 (0)
Ben HALLORAN Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY 5 (0)
Chris HERD Aston Villa FC, ENGLAND –
Mile JEDINAK Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND 47 (5)
Tomi JURIC Western Sydney Wanderers FC, AUSTRALIA 3 (1)
Robbie KRUSE TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, GERMANY 29 (3)
Mitchell LANGERAK (gk) B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY 3 (0)
Matthew LECKIE FC Ingolstadt 04, GERMANY 11 (1)
Massimo LUONGO Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND 1 (0)
Mark MILLIGAN Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA 30 (2)
Tommy OAR FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS 18 (1)
Mat RYAN (gk) Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM 10 (0)
Brad SMITH Swindon Town FC, ENGLAND –
Carl VALERI Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA 50 (1)
Alex WILKINSON Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC 6 (0)
Bailey WRIGHT Preston North End FC, ENGLAND –

Socceroos matches:

Thursday, September 4: Belgium v Australia Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Leige 8.45pm (4.45am AEST)

Monday, September 8: Saudi Arabia v Australia Craven Cottage, London 8.00pm (5am AEST)

Both matches will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.