Socceroos squad, winners and losers, Graham Arnold, fixtures, World Cup, Mat Ryan, Garang Kuol, Jason Cummings, latest, updates

Socceroos squad, winners and losers, Graham Arnold, fixtures, World Cup, Mat Ryan, Garang Kuol, Jason Cummings, newest, updates

Graham Arnold has locked in a 31-man squad for the Socceroos’ upcoming friendlies against New Zealand and already some intriguing storylines have emerged.

Arnold promised two entirely different starting lineups for the matches, scheduled for 22 September in Brisbane and 25 September in Auckland.

With a whopping seven debutants in the squad, including a teen sensation attracting serious interest from some of Europe’s best, several players will get the chance to put their best foot forward before Arnold locks in his travelling party for the World Cup.

Foxsports.com.au breaks down the biggest winners who made the cut and the unfortunate group who will watch the Socceroos take on their trans-Tasman neighbours on TV.

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WINNERS

Garang Kuol

Birthday presents don’t get much better than a Socceroos call-up.

On his last day as a 17-year-old, Garang Kuol fronted a press conference alongside Arnold announcing the squad for the New Zealand friendlies.

It’s a remarkable rise considering Kuol is yet to start an A-League Men’s match for Central Coast Mariners.

But four goals in his first seven games for the Mariners forced everyone to take notice of this special talent.

Kuol then cemented himself as one of Australia’s hottest prospects with an eye-catching cameo for the A-League All-Stars against European giants Barcelona.

Barca boss Xavi described Kuol’s impact as “unbelievable” for his age and {the teenager} is destined for bigger and better in the future.

With Arnold to directly assess his talent as well as experience a Socceroos camp, Kuol can’t have asked for a better chance to prove he should be on the plane to Qatar.

Jason Cummings

You can’t talk about cult heroes of Australian football without mentioning Jason Cummings.

Having arrived on Australian shores in January, Cummings immediately took to life with the Mariners and finished the season with 10 goals, only five off golden boot winner Jamie Maclaren.

Cummings had come close to breaking into the squad in previous selection windows, but the enlarged squad ensured the Scottish-born striker would get a chance to impress Arnold.

The 27-year-old has already played twice for Scotland, but due to FIFA’s eligibility rules, he is able to play for Australia thanks to his Aussie mother and because three years have passed since his last appearance for Scotland.

It remains to be seen if Cummings will start, but he’ll no doubt be a welcome and positively chaotic addition to the squad.

Cameron Devlin

After several passionate, all-action displays for Hearts, Cameron Devlin finally gets the call-up he deserved.

The combative midfielder moved to the Edinburgh outfit in 2021 and took to life in the Scottish Premiership like a duck to water, endearing himself to fans with his crunching tackles and cheekiness against opponents.

It’s unfortunate that Devlin is competing for a spot in the starting line-up in a position Australia is well-stocked, but his grit and refusal to back down from any opponent is a quality every team must have.

Put simply, he’s the player you’d hate to come up against but would crave to have on your team.

And Arnold will look to squeeze every bit of that competitive juice from the 24-year-old against the Kiwis.

Aziz Behich

After joining the Australian fraternity competing in the Scottish Premiership, Aziz Behich could perhaps count himself a little lucky to have been included in the Socceroos squad.

His new club Dundee United remain winless after six games and are rooted to the bottom of the ladder.

Behich hasn’t exactly stood out like a sore thumb for poor performances, but he isn’t exactly a shining light in a tunnel of darkness.

It also doesn’t help that the Tangerines have conceded 18 goals to date, although nine came in an embarrassing defeat to Celtic.

When on song, Behich is perhaps the Socceroos’ best option at left back and is a reliable operator.

But those have come few and far between recently.

With several other Aussie left backs performing well across Europe, Behich’s spot in the World Cup squad is no certainty.

LOSERS

Jason Davidson

One of those left backs who can count themselves seriously unlucky is Jason Davidson, who is with AS Eupen in the Belgian top flight.

Davidson got his career back on track with a strong season with Melbourne Victory that earned him a move to Belgium and has continued to show his mettle alongside fellow Aussie James Jeggo.

The 31-year-old was impressive for Australia at the 2014 World Cup and but missed out on selection in 2018.

There’s still time for him to stake his claim for Qatar, but his omission is not good news.

Mat Ryan

In some books, Mat Ryan might be seen as a winner in this squad selection.

But with Mitchell Langerak’s retirement backflip, Ryan’s position as the Socceroos’ starting goalkeeper is under serious threat.

There could have been a chance Ryan would have lost his starting gig to Langerak if he hadn’t secured a move away from Real Sociedad where he was sat warming the bench as the reserve goalkeeper.

However, the FC Copenhagen gloveman will no doubt relish the competition from the returning star and it could be what’s needed to bring the best out of him.

Danny Vukovic

Sticking with the goalkeeper’s union, and Danny Vukovic is another who faces a massive fight to make the plane to Qatar.

Vukovic was on the bench for the Socceroos’ penalty shootout victory over Peru and was in the thick of the celebrations.

But Langerak’s return nudges him out of contention and with Andrew Redmayne’s penalty heroics almost rendering him undroppable, Vukovic is the odd man out.

He has returned home to the Central Coast Mariners, but with the A-League Men’s 22/23 campaign beginning on October 8, it doesn’t give Vukovic many chances to prove he’s worthy of a place in Arnold’s final World Cup squad.

Alex Grant

With centre-backs Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles, there was an opening for Arnold to boost his depth at the heart of the defence.

Many felt Alex Grant would receive the call-up, but the Pohang Steelers defender missed out.

He has been in fine form since moving to the South Korean outfit and this could have been his only chance to impress Arnold in a camp setting.

But with Souttar and Rowles in line to return to full fitness before the World Cup and barring more catastrophic injuries to other Australian centre-backs, it seems Grant will almost certainly miss out on the World Cup.

About the Author: Mofazzal Hossen

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