Riley McGree has been named in the latest Socceroos squad.
Riley McGree has been named in the latest Socceroos squad. DAVID MARIUZ

Winners and losers from the latest Socceroos squad

ANGE Postecoglou has shaken up his Socceroos squad ahead of a massive six months of fixtures including World Cup qualifiers, the Confederations Cup, and a glamour friendly against Brazil.

18-year-old Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree has showcased Postecoglou's willingness to cast the net far and wide, the headline in a fascinating 30-man preliminary final squad.

"I'm not going to pick someone just to make a statement," Postecoglou said of McGree's selection.

"I believe he's already showed some outstanding characteristics, he's a genuinely outstanding player.

"I've consistently done that through my tenure - cast my net wide. There's not an Aussie anywhere in the world I'm not watching.

"If someone deserves an opportunity I'll give them an opportunity. I'd be surprised if there was anyone in the squad who wasn't prepared that there'd be someone new coming in (when a squad is announced)."

So who is smiling, and who is disappointed, after Wednesday's announcement?


The bolter: Riley McGree

A teenager, with a dozen A-League appearances and a composed showing in the AFC Champions League, McGree gets the chance to express himself in a national team camp. There is no better example in his entire national team tenure of Postecoglou's willingness to gamble on youth, and to keep half an eye on the future while working on current KPIs.

Ange's favourite sons: Rhys Williams, Matt McKay

"I've rated Matty since he was 17".

Few players polarise Socceroos fans like the Brisbane Roar skipper, but few Australians have the engine, consistency, precision and work rate of the A-League veteran.

Postecoglou said McKay was probably "stiff" to miss out on recent squads while his attention focused on the Mooys, Luongos and Irvines, but if he's looking for experience, simplicity and a midfielder to keep the tempo ticking over, he's got McKay back in his Socceroos kitbag.

Williams's selection is intriguing, especially given his absence for Perth Glory for periods this season.

There's no question that Williams's international career could have been anything if not for cruel injuries sustained while in England, and you only need to look at the fact that Williams started Postecoglou's first game in charge against Costa Rica in 2013, for a gauge of how much he rates the versatile defender.

Williams came off on 48 minutes with a knock in that game and later suffered another serious injury to mean he missed out on Socceroos contention for years.

He has returned to something near his best in the last month and with Trent Sainsbury not playing, Matthew Spiranovic injured and Alex Wilkinson overlooked, that was all Postecoglou needed to see to give him a chance to stake his claim to become part of the squad's core.

The A-League graduates playing abroad: Amini, Goodwin, Mabil, Edwards

The former Adelaide, Central Coast and Perth quartet have been plugging away abroad for a couple of seasons now but have been rewarded for finally contributing consistently.

Edwards, in Scotland with Partick Thistle, is vying amongst a very competitive midfield; the other two have been brought into the fold at a time where Tom Rogic leaves an absence in the No.10 role, while few of Australia's wingers are playing regularly.

"Mabil is an exciting player, one we want to make sure we encourage, keep tabs on," Postecoglou said, before paying credit to his transition after a tough start abroad.

For Amini, whose call-up has been a long time coming, he added: "Watching Amini, he looks more mature, he's taking more responsibility, working harder.

"He was always a talent, now (he's) improving aspects of his game."

Asian stars: Robbie Kruse, Nathan Burns

Basically, Postecoglou has kept faith with two of his most reliable contributors. But how long will good will last if they're not playing?

That's the key question, as the Socceroos can't afford to carry anyone underdone over the coming months.

The A-League Premiers: Danny Vukovic, Rhyan Grant

Play well; get rewarded. These two A-League call-ups are fabulous stories for different reasons.

Vukovic, 31, has been absent from the international set-up since Pim Verbeek's tenure, but his form was too compelling to ignore in a year that he's had significant off-field issues to concentrate on as well.

Grant has gone from an under the radar Sydney FC utility to someone who simply had to be picked.

He is not just being rewarded; he is exactly the player the side needs with a dearth of options at right-back.

Danny Vukovic has starred for Sydney FC this season.
Danny Vukovic has starred for Sydney FC this season.

The A-League gun: James Troisi

The Asian Cup winner was left out when he made some poor club choices, but now he's fit, and firing at Melbourne Victory and come from beyond the last squad to make a strong case for inclusion in the first XI.

"James Troisi is someone who was a big part of the Asian Cup and beyond but his last couple of moves haven't helped out.

"His form for Victory has been very good, physically he looks in good nick. Hopefully he can add something to us."

James Troisi has been in good form for Melbourne Victory.
James Troisi has been in good form for Melbourne Victory.


Sydney FC stars: Josh Brillante, Alex Brosque, Alex Wilkinson

'Wilko' would be the harshest done by, given he has played a formidable role in the same rear guard that has seen Vukovic and Grant rewarded, although Postecoglou says he is very much still in the frame.

Brillante has had an impressive season, and is someone who was once a Postecoglou project player, his bolter for the 2015 Asian Cup contingent. But he is in a very competitive midfield field.

Need to see more: Jamie Maclaren, Josh Risdon

Given both were key members of the last group, this is a real wake-up call for two up-and-comers in positions Australia doesn't have a lot of depth.

On Maclaren, Postecoglou said: "He's scored goals this year, and is very much in the frame, (but) I don't think he's been as consistent.

"It's not just about goals, it's about games evolving.

"Adam Taggart is in a similar boat - we want to see their game evolving. International football is different ... particularly for strikers.

"Jamie's had some inconsistencies but on the weekend I thought he played really well and got into good positions and could have had a couple more goals.

"It's all part of his development. He's very much in the frame because we don't have much depth there."

Ange Postecoglou is not convinced by Jamie Maclaren.
Ange Postecoglou is not convinced by Jamie Maclaren.

Injury: Matthew Spiranovic, Tom Rogic

Two big losses for the Socceroos, although there's doubts whether Spiranovic would have been selected anyway due to his club's demotion to China's second division.

Postecoglou revealed that the centre-back's quad injury is potentially a long term worry, while Rogic's absence for Celtic opens the door for another starter in midfield.

A-League fringe options: Luke Brattan, Ivan Franjic, Adam Taggart, Jason Geria

All have been around the Socceroos fringes in the past two years but have not done enough for inclusion this time.

Given the lack of options at right-back, Franjic may have had some hope of being rewarded for his past performances under Postecoglou.

Listening to Postecoglou talk about Taggart, you sense his time will come again if he can play consistently for the rest of the season.

"We all know Taggart can score goals, but he's improving (his play).

"We're best of letting him get consistency ... and there's no reason he can't be in squad."

League leader: Brad Jones

Brad Jones has only conceded 14 goals in Holland this season and could win the league with Feyenoord. But, simply, Vukovic has been preferred to the 34-year-old.