Arnold’s squad is highlighted with the inclusion of four A-League players (David Carney, Nick Carle, Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan), with another six on the stand-by list. understands that those on stand-by include Adrian Leijer, Nathan Burns, Danny Vukovic and Mark Bridge.

As tipped, older players Scott Chipperfield, Josip Skoko and Craig Moore were not named in the squad but the most notable absentee is new Celtic signing Scott McDonald. Arnold explained that he felt it was in the long-terms interests of the Socceroos to allow McDonald to use the Celtic pre-season to establish himself as a first-team member, rather than travel with the Socceroos and be used from the bench. He also said that young Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was another player who would benefit more by breaking into his club’s first team.

“Scotty’s made a massive transfer to Celtic and I feel that it’s for the good of Australia, the Socceroos and Scott McDonald going forward that he stays at Celtic where he does his pre-season training and tries to break in the first team straight away,” he said.

“If Scotty McDonald is playing football week in, week out for Celtic and he’s playing in the Champions League… it’s going to be better for the Socceroos moving forward into 2008, 2009 and South Africa 2010. The communication between [team manager] Gary Moretti, myself and Scotty was always very open and he has handled himself very well when speaking about things. He’s accepted our decision and it’s a favourable decision for himself as well.”

One of the A-League players, David Carney, is set to fill the void left by Scott Chipperfield and is likely to adapt his game to play in the unfamiliar role of left-back.

As was the case prior to the World Cup, Arnold has stated that both scouting opposition sides and physical preparation will play a significant part in the tournament.

“One thing I can guarantee to the supporters and the fans is that we will have the players well-prepared for the job. They will have all the information they need regarding the Asian teams. They will be mentally right for the job at hand and we’ll be going across to be successful."

Arnold also stated that the FFA-endorsed trip that took himself and Gary Moretti to visit the club managers of Socceroo players had proven invaluable. Without it, Arnold claims that up to half of the squad would not have been released for the tournament.

“When Rafael Benitez says we’re the first national organisation to have ever visited him… that broke down a lot of barriers straight away,” he explained.

“[Harry Kewell’s] motivation for the tournament is huge. He’s desperate to be here, which is a great sign. Our training program fit in pretty much perfectly with Liverpool’s training program, so the blessing was given."

When quizzed on the issue of the captaincy, Arnold said he had his thoughts on who should lead the side, but would wait until after a team meeting in Singapore before a final decision would be made. Viduka, Lucas Neill and Vince Grella are the front-runners, but the decision will largely depend on Viduka's decision to play on post-tournament.

Contrary to speculation Arnold said that Mark Viduka, who completed his move to Newcastle United overnight, was never a doubt of playing in the tournament. The recent friendly match against China was named as one of the factors that had helped Viduka decide to continue in the green and gold.

“Mark left China with a massive smile on his face, because he loved it. He loved the respect and the adulation that he got in China. Last time I spoke to him, he was looking forward to the tournament. As Mark says, he wants to go out and win something for the Socceroos. He wants to win something in a prestigious tournament.”

Australia’s involvement in the Asian Cup tournament - which carries no prize money – is likely to cost the FFA in excess of $1 million.

Graham Arnold's 23-man Asian Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones, Michael Petkovic

Defenders: Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Michael Beauchamp, Michael Thwaite, Mark Milligan, Patrick Kisnorbo

Midfielders: Mark Bresciano, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Vince Grella, Mile Sterjovski, Luke Wilkshire, Jason Culina, Carl Valeri, Nick Carle, David Carney

Forwards: Mark Viduka, John Aloisi, Archie Thompson, Brett Holman