The striker - in full kit and wearing the number 22 - made a surprise appearance with the rest of the Socceroos at Princes Park in Melbourne to complete a remarkable return from injury, and arguably the brink of retirement

It’s the first time the green and gold has called upon the services of the 28 year old A-League hero, but his impressive form in the opening rounds of the new season has earned him a debut place in the squad.

The move, exclusively predicted by earlier this week, came after Celtic striker Scott McDonald pulled out of Tuesday’s game against Argentina with a hamstring injury.

With Archie Thompson already in the squad – but under an injury cloud – his Victory strike partner Danny Allsopp looked like the natural choice to join the weakened Socceroo strikeforce.

But coach Graham Arnold has chosen form over reputation and brought the Mariners goal hero into the squad instead, the first time he has been picked for Australia at any level.

Mrdja was in deadly form in the Mariners’ game against Wellington Phoenix last weekend, setting up one goal for team-mate Adam Kwasnik and scoring two crackers of his own.

Now Arnold is hoping Mrdja can bring that lethal touch to the international stage against Argentina.

The Socceroos are currently facing a striker crisis, with Mark Viduka opting to stay in the UK, McDonald and possibly Thompson injured, and Josh Kennedy still recovering from his long-term injury.

Brett Holman has been included in the squad, but he failed to fire in front of goal in his last few appearances for the green and gold.

Now all eyes will be on Mrdja to see if he gets a start in the Argentina match – and if he can make an impact where others have failed.

It’s the latest stage in an amazing turnaround of Mrdja’s fortunes.

Touted as the one of the stars to watch heading into the inaugural A-League season, Mrdja cruelly fell victim to a devastating knee injury in the final of the 2005 pre-season cup, ruling him out of action for over 12 months.

And while he made an inconspicuous return to first team football late last season, it has taken almost a year for Mrdja to return to full fitness and the form which earned him a reputation as one of the most lethal strikers in the competition.

Graham Arnold is expected to confirm his place in the squad over the weekend.