Graham Arnold will reveal his 26-man World Cup squad at 4pm AEDT on Tuesday, with the announcement likely to feature a key omission that has already caused a stir among former Socceroos.
Arnold is already on the ground in Qatar and has spent recent days finalising the make-up of his squad with players due to start arriving in Doha from Monday, a week out from the start of the tournament.
In what looms as a bombshell omission, veteran goalkeeper Mitch Langerak will reportedly miss out — according to both CODE Sports and Fairfax — despite being coerced out of international retirement earlier this year,
CODE Sports’ Adam Peacock also reports Japan-based striker Adam Taggart — who has six goals in 16 Socceroos appearances — will likely miss the squad, along with Cristian Volpato, who has been subject of an eligibility tussle with Italy. Read his full report here.
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Langerak’s likely omission comes despite many pencilling in the J-League star — Nagoya Grampus’ player of the year — as the clear No.2 goalkeeping option behind Mat Ryan. ‘Grey Wiggle’ Andrew Redmayne and Danny Vukovic loom as the likely options to join Socceroos skipper Ryan in the squad.
Langerak returned to the international fold for the friendlies against New Zealand in September after discussions with Arnold but did not feature in the matches.
News of Langerak’s likely omission was met with surprise on Twitter from ex-Socceroos Robert Cornthwaite and Tommy Oar, the latter seemingly accusing Arnold and goalkeeping coach John Crawley of giving “jobs for the boys”.
“It’s an absolute wind up,” Oar, who played 28 times for the Socceroos, wrote.
“Takes jobs for the boys to a whole new level. He’s (Langerak) been one of our best performing players consistently for the last five years and is one of the best blokes you’ll meet, respected by everyone.”
Taggart, a member of Ange Postecoglou’s 2014 World Cup squad, has recently fallen out of favour at his club Cerezo Osaka. The 29-year-old’s omission would increase the chances of Central Coast stars Garang Kuol and Jason Cummings making the squad.
Kuol, 18, made a big statement with two assists off the bench in his latest outing for the Mariners and could remarkably make the Cup squad despite having never started a professional club match.
Key defenders Kye Rowles and Harry Souttar are likely to be selected despite only just returning from significant injuries while star midfielder Tom Rogic is set to return after his mysterious omission from the crunch qualification playoff matches.
While Arnold’s squad will be finalised today, there will still be the opportunity to make changes up until the FIFA deadline of Tuesday, November 15 should injury strike.
The Socceroos face France in their first match in Qatar on Wednesday, November 23 (6am AEDT).
Follow the squad announcement live here from 4pm AEDT.