Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Australia combine experience, youth in Asian Cup squad

AFP, SYDNEY

Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak and stalwarts Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano will lead Australia’s bid for Asian Cup glory after coach Ange Postecoglou unveiled the 23-man squad yesterday.

The Socceroos face Kuwait in the opening match of the tournament in Melbourne on Jan. 9 and Postecoglou has stuck with 16 of the players who went to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June and July.

However, he also injected some young talent and recalled in-form striker Nathan Burns, who is the leading scorer in the A-League.

“It’s been almost six months in the making since the FIFA World Cup,” Postecoglou said of his squad, which contains no real surprises. “We’ve had a series of games where there have been some pretty clear objectives, particularly in terms of broadening the pool and seeing whether we could get some better balance in the squad and more depth.”

“There’s a good combination of the core of the group that went to the World Cup, there’s some experience there, but also a sprinkling of guys who will enhance the squad we took to the World Cup,” he added.

There are seven survivors from the last Asian Cup in Qatar in 2011 — Burns, Cahill, Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Matt McKay, Tommy Oar and Matthew Spiranovic — where Australia lost 1-0 to Japan in a pulsating final.

The Socceroos are to assemble in Melbourne for a training camp starting on Saturday, with Postecoglou saying he is confident that his squad are “capable of playing out the whole tournament.”

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