Australia veteran Cahill heads young football squad


Sydney (AFP) - Four uncapped players were called up to join Australia talisman Tim Cahill Thursday in the Socceroos squad to face Belgium and Saudi Arabia in the build-up to the 2015 Asian Cup.

Brad Smith, Chris Herd, Trent Sainsbury and Bailey Wright were the new faces in a 20-man line-up as coach Ange Postecoglou sought to "broaden the base and depth" of the squad.

The team also contains familiar faces in veteran Cahill, captain Mile Jedinak and 10 others who featured at the World Cup.

The September friendlies, to be played in Liege and London, will build on the Socceroos' World Cup progress and help prepare them for the Asian Cup to be held in Australia in January.

"The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we're going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity," Postecoglou said.

"After the World Cup campaign we had a break and I had a bit of a chance to think about everything that transpired over the last six to eight months, culminating in the World Cup.

"One thing that came out, that was evident to me, is that we need to broaden our base and get some depth in various positions in our squad."

Postecoglou said for the Socceroos to have a strong squad at the Asian Cup, they had to "expose some young players to international football".

Smith, who made his English Premier League debut last year for Liverpool, was one such player, the coach said.

"Brad's a player we have been monitoring since I've been in the job and he plays in a position where we don't have a great deal of depth. He plays left-back and left side and he's quick," Postecoglou said.

Experienced campaigners Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy were left out but could still be included for further friendlies in October and November, Postecoglou added.

The Socceroos play World Cup quarter-finalists Belgium in Liege on September 4 before facing Saudi Arabia in London on September 8.

Australia squad:

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge/BEL), Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund/GER)

Defenders: Bailey Wright (Preston North End/ENG), Jason Davidson (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors/KOR), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle/NED), Brad Smith (Swindon Town/ENG)

Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace/ENG), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town/ENG), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC/AUS), Joshua Brillante (ACF Fiorentina/ITA), Chris Herd (Aston Villa/ENG), Carl Valeri (Melbourne Victory/AUS)

Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls/USA), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht/NED), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Matthew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt/GER), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen/GER)

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