Alex Gersbach suffers 2018 Russia World Cup selection heartbreak after being left out of Socceroos squad

Left out: Sutherland Sharks junior Alex Gersbach has been left out of Australia's squad for the World Cup. Picture: Chris Lane
Left out: Sutherland Sharks junior Alex Gersbach has been left out of Australia's squad for the World Cup. Picture: Chris Lane

Alex Gersbach will not go to the World Cup in Russia after being left out of the 26-man squad to travel to Turkey for a pre-tournament camp.

Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk announced on Tuesday morning the Australia squad that will face the Czech Republic in a friendly in Austria on June 1.

Gersbach, a Sutherland Sharks junior from Cronulla, was named in a preliminary 32-man squad last week.

But the 21-year-old left back won’t be at the 2018 World Cup despite plying his trade in France with Ligue 2 club RC Lens. Gersbach had left his parent club, Norwegian champions Rosenborg, to earn more playing time in Europe. He played 13 times to help Lens avoid relegation.

Former Socceroo Craig Foster told the Leader he believed Gersbach should have been in the squad.

“I would have thought so. The fullback areas we’ve found quite difficult,” he said.

“You see with the [preliminary] squad [Fran] Karacic is a completely new player being chosen in a fullback position and is in a World Cup squad. That shows if nothing else how problematic those positions are. 

“I think Alex is outstanding. He’s a fabulous example to us of the level of talent that exists in the region. I would have thought he was a very high chance [of selection] because he’s done well in the A-League and since with his move to Europe.”

The Socceroos squad will be culled on June 3 to the final 23 players who will face Hungary in Budapest on June 9 in Australia’s final friendly match before their World Cup group C opener against France.

Apostolos Giannou, Mitchell Langerak, Jamie Maclaren, Aleksandar Susnjar and Bailey Wright were also left out of the trimmed squad.

Van Marwijk said selection decisions had been difficult but felt he had chosen a balanced squad.

“It is always a challenging task to reduce a squad however this is the nature of professional sport at the highest level,” he said.

“Overall, I believe we have named a strong and ambitious squad for our training camp in Turkey and friendly against Czech Republic in Austria.” 

“I am sure that in training in Antalya and in our match against the Czech Republic we will see players pushing to go to a higher level as they compete for a place in the final squad.”

The squad includes uncapped 19-year-old attacker Daniel Arzani from Melbourne City as well as 22-year-old NK Lokomotiva right back Fran Karacic.

Tim Cahill and Mark Milligan are on track to go to their fourth World Cups with both chosen in the 26 alongside five current A-League players – Arzani, Joshua Brillante, Dimitri Petratos, Josh Risdon and James Troisi.

Australia meet France in Kazan on June 16. 

Socceroos squad for pre-tournament camp

Daniel ARZANI, Aziz BEHICH, Joshua BRILLANTE, Tim CAHILL, Milos DEGENEK, Jackson IRVINE, Mile JEDINAK, Brad JONES, Tomi JURIC, Matthew JURMAN, Fran KARACIC, Robbie KRUSE, Mathew LECKIE, Massimo LUONGO, James MEREDITH, Mark MILLIGAN, Aaron MOOY, Andrew NABBOUT, Dimitri PETRATOS, Josh RISDON, Tom ROGIC, Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, Mathew RYAN, Trent SAINSBURY, James TROISI, Daniel VUKOVIC

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