In less than a month, until the Socceroos finally get back into action with four World Cup qualifiers in June, numerous Australian stars have reached a rich form on their way to a green and gold jersey.
From a long-awaited return to the Socceroos for a pair of exiled stars to a man well-known for a Premier League transfer, it’s the same for a handful of Socceroos overseas.
It’s our newest Roo Radar!
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Matchday 20 A-League Wrap | 03:20
SOUTTAR SET FOR PL SWAP?
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has declared Harry Souttar a suspension for the Premier League for years after a career-best year for the Stoke City championship team.
“I don’t want to compare him to anyone, but when I look at some of the center-backs in the EPL, Harry Souttar is only 22 years old. He will definitely be in the Premier League and that’s great for us,” Arnold told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If you play on the championship grid every week, you can see that he is part of it more and more. It was great for his development.
“He reads the game so well for a defender – yes, he’s obviously tall, but he’s fast, he’s light-footed and he’s very good at the ball. He’s fine. “
After years on loan in the third division and the Scottish Premier League, Souttar has become an important part of Stoke’s first team to anchor the defense this year – and particularly impressed with his rapid development as a ball-playing defender.
“It’s good for me personally to finally play in the championship. I’ve been in the top division for the last couple of seasons and I know a lot of people have wondered if I can move up and play at this level, ”Souttar told SMH.
“It’s such a demanding league, you could probably say that there are around 12-14 teams in the league that could potentially be promoted. It’s so competitive. My position is about being as consistent as possible. Hopefully I can just keep improving. “
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Souttar has been linked to a number of Premier League teams over the past few months – Burnley this week and Crystal Palace and West Ham before that.
But after recently signing a long-term extension with Stoke, Souttar has spoken repeatedly of his desire to bring the Potters back to the top.
I would definitely like to play there in the future. I want to play with Stoke there. I want to help the club get back to where it should be.
“I think all the players at Stoke feel the same. We are all going one way to get Stoke back into the Premier League.”
Stoke finished 14th this season but gave U-23 players, including Souttar, more minutes than any other championship team – which bodes well for their future if they should be able to hold onto a number of young stars. His coach Michael O’Neill said: “We certainly see him as an important player in Stoke City’s future.”
At the moment, the Aussie is in any case a ban not only for the Socceroos qualification in June, but also for the Olyroos campaign in Tokyo. Strong performances on these international stages would certainly further boost his stocks among the Premier League applicants.
ELDER FLOWERS FOR TIGERS
Souttar next season will include Callum Elder, who was promoted from the top division with Hull. The Tigers were at the head of the division and the left-back Elder was a ubiquitous sight in the orange and black stripes. In 44 league games (of the 46 possible!) He scored 10 assists and one (outstanding) goal that earned him a place in the team of the year.
In a crunchy duel, he hobbled off the pitch and was forced into a knee brace at the season finale at the weekend. However, fears of serious injuries were downplayed by Socceroos boss Graham Arnold, who declared Elder a suspension to join the Roos squad.
“Callum is on the list. He did it exceptionally well, ”Arnold told SEN Radio. “When I see him play in Hull City, he’s very calm and a very good player.
“He’s someone I would have given a chance ages ago before COVID, and that’s the thing if I bring an expanded squad to Kuwait.
“Because there are some younger kids I have to knock on the door and push some of the older players and players I want to see up close and in the group.
“We’re taking this expanded squad with one eye on the third round.”
The 26-year-old Elder hasn’t capped yet – but if he’s fit, Arnold makes him a likely left-back choice.
ROO DUO STAR IN SCOTLAND
Jackson Irvine and Martin Boyle are also well placed to get into the Socceroos camp and secure a notable third place for Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.
Irvine landed support in an overnight 1-0 away win, which was good enough to secure the club’s best league finish in one game since 2004/05.
The pair almost scored a second goal when Boyle blocked Irvine’s shot in the second half just to scratch the bar.
After months without a club, Irvine now has four assists and one goal in 19 games (across all competitions) for the Hibs. An integral part of the starting XI this season, Boyle has 15 goals and 12 assists from 47 games in all competitions.
The duo will look to end their season with the Scottish Cup final against St. Johnstone on Saturday May 22nd before heading to the Middle East to join their Australian compatriots.
EXILED DUO SET FOR RECALLS
Midfielder James Holland has not had a Socceroos appearance since the 2014 Brazil World Cup (which he did not attend). But after successfully working for LASK in Austria for years, he will likely get a long-awaited return to the squad. The World Game reports that he is expected to return to the squad to replace James Jeggo, who is sidelined due to surgery on an injured metatarsal bone sustained on his Greek team Aris.
The 31-year-old Holland has 15 games for the Socceroos.
Another exiled man likely to return to the group is Nikita Rukavytsya, the 33-year-old goalkeeper who continues to shine in Israel.
After not playing for the Roos since November 2017, he has become a goalscorer for Maccabi Haifa – this time 17 of 25 and 22 of 36 games last season.
The World Game also names Sydney FC defender Ryan McGowan as a potential squad member, who has also been out of the squad since 2017.
Arnold is expected to name his expanded Socceroos roster in the coming days. The team is expected to gather in the Middle East on May 23.
The World Cup qualification against Kuwait, Nepal, Taiwan and Jordan will take place from June 4th (AEST) to June 16th. Watch every game LIVE on Fox Sports and Kayo!