Overseas players largely overlooked for AFC Under-23 Championship qualifying tournament
Josep Gombau says he is confident his homegrown Olyroos can make a big impact at the AFC Under-23 qualifying tournament this month.
As exclusively revealed by FourFourTwo, the head coach has mainly gone local with his selections – with just five overseas-based players included in the provisional 26-man squad.
The likes of Leicester City’s Callum Elder, Bournemouth’s Jordan Holmes, ex-Liverpool midfielder Jake Brimmer, Burnley’s Aiden O’Neill and Scunthorpe United’s Cameron Burgess have all been overlooked for the trip to Myanmar.
Instead, it's young A-League stars such as Stefan Nigro who have been given their chance to shine.
But Gombau said: “I am very confident in the players we have picked. In all of the training camps we have had recently they have done really well and I am satisfied that the final 23 players that are chosen for the tournament can do the job.
“For a lot of Asian countries they are currently in the middle of their seasons whereas in Australia it’s pre-season, but we have a number of players who have already been in pre-season for three weeks so they come into camp with some load and training under their belts.
“We have a camp for 10 days leading up to the start of the tournament so I’m confident we will arrive at the first match in good shape.”
Australia will be looking to top a group that includes Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Myanmar in order to qualify automatically for the Under-23 Championships in China next year.
They can also go through as one of the best five second-placed teams of the 10 qualifying groups.
Gombau’s side will play warm-up games against Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners before the squad is reduced to 23 and departs for Myanmar on July 15.
“The main objective is obviously to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship but for me the key is that we have a squad that is highly competitive and there is depth among the entire group,” Gombau said.
“We have our kind of football and philosophy of how we want to play which is important because we want to play good football and develop these players to one day become Socceroos.”
Olyroos squad: Daniel Arzani, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, George Blackwood, Trent Buhagiar, Joe Caletti, Devante Clut, Nicholas Cowburn, Thomas Deng, Scott Galloway, Thomas Glover, Paul Izzo, Lachlan Jackson, Bruce Kamau, Awer Mabil, Stefan Mauk, Riley McGree, Stefan Nigro, Daniel Nizic, Jordan O’Doherty, Miloslav Popovic, Liam Rose, Lachlan Scott, Jashua Sotirio, Ruon Tongyik, Benjamin Warland, Brandon Wilson.