Australia coach Holger Osieck has drafted in young midfielder Tommy Oar for the Socceroos’ 2014 World Cup qualifier against Iraq but kept faith with the core group of veterans that have stumbled badly in the team's campaign for Brazil.
Australia is third in Asia’s Group B after two draws and a shock loss to lowly Jordan. A further defeat to fourth-placed Iraq in Doha, Qatar on October 16 would put the Socceroos in danger of missing out on reaching a third consecutive World Cup.
The 20-year-old Oar, who has four international caps and plays for FC Utrecht in Netherlands, had deserved his call-up after finding his feet in the Dutch league, Osieck said.
“We know what kind of a talent he is to offer and that he is one of the young, promising guys,” Osieck told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday after naming a 22-man squad.
Osieck appears set to reshuffle the defense that leaked two goals away to Jordan last month, omitting David Carney and Jason Davidson, while Sasa Ognenovski misses out due to injury.
The coach will continue to rely on the usual line-up of Socceroos’ stalwarts, including former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill and Qatar-based playmaker Mark Bresciano.
Mark Schwarzer, who turns 40 on Saturday, has been retained as one of three goalkeepers and is likely to remain Osieck’s first choice.
The squad will convene for a training camp in Doha before the Iraq match but will not play a practice game against United Arab Emirates in the lead-up due to concerns about the heat.
Squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Adam Sarota, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, Archie Thompson, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire.