Sutherland Shire juniors Alex Gersbach and Chris Ikonomidis have missed out on the final 23-man Socceroos squad for crucial World Cup Qualifiers against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
Gersbach and Ikonomidis were named in the original 30-man squad but have been cut from Ange Postecoglou’s final 23, with Australia surprisingly naming five players having played no international games.
Former Bexley North Public School student Tim Cahill, St George junior Massimo Luongo and former Endeavour Sports High School student Tomi Juric were all named for the vital matches, with Australia third in group B of Asian Football Confederation qualifying.
Australia are one point behind Saudi Arabia and Japan ahead of the matches with Iraq in Tehran on March 23 and the UAE in Sydney on March 28. Postecoglou said he was happy with his new look squad.
“We’ve come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football,” Postecoglou said.
“I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and come into camp playing well.
“We face two important games in five days and it’s good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons and I’m confident the group we’ve selected will be ready to hit the ground running.
“There are a lot of important matches in what shapes as a crucial year for the team but the focus for us is simply Iraq on Thursday week and then the UAE in Sydney on March 28.”
Sydney FC pair Rhyan Grant and Danny Vukovic are among the five debutants.