Holger Holds Harry Back
Harry Kewell has been omitted from the Socceroos squad for the upcoming friendly against Wales in Cardiff.
Coach Holger Osieck has indicated that Kewell was not picked because of fitness concerns, as the left footed forward has not played or trained with a full time squad since being released by Turkish side Galatasaray.
Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill was also released from the Turkish club at the same time as Kewell and is also yet to secure a new club, however Osieck was brutally honest when asked why he had selected one and not the other.
“There is a slight difference between the two of them. One is fit and one is not fit. Lucas has done a lot of work…but Harry is not in very good shape,” Osieck said.
“He didn’t take part in the two games in June because he was not really fit, he had to undergo some sort of treatment. He didn’t have full training in the meantime so he is definitely not in a position to play right now.
“We all know what value Harry brings to the team. I am really hoping he will be in game shape for the World Cup qualifiers.”
Osieck also said that he hoped Kewell used the break to secure his playing future. A League heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC are said to be still chasing the signature of the 32 year old.
While Kewell is by far the biggest omission from the squad there are a couple of surprise inclusions.
Former Brisbane Roar defender Luke DeVere will get his first chance in the Socceroos squad since Osieck took over from former coach Pim Verbeek.
“I was following his performances in Korea. He became a regular and always got good marks for his games,” Osieck said.
“But it’s not just enough to have some kind of distant impression. I need to see him in the group, how he integrates himself and gets along with all the guys on and off the field.”
Sasa Ognenovski has also been omitted from the squad meaning either DeVere or Matthew Spirnaovic will get the opportunity to partner Lucas Neill in the centre of defence.
Osieck has also recalled embattled in striker Scott McDonald to the squad, after opting to rest Josh Kennedy from the upcoming friendly.
“Josh has had problems with long distance travel. He has had to drop out on previous occasions because of back problems. I decided not to pick him and to save him for the World Cup qualifiers,” Osieck said.
“I didn’t include him (McDonald) for our games in June but at the end of last season he scored a few goals for Middlesbrough so I thought I’d give him another chance.”
Despite being a potent force at Celtic and Middlesbrough, McDonald has been cursed when he has pulled on the Socceroos jersey. In 24 appearances for the national side, McDonald is yet to find the back of the net. This is from a man that has averaged a goal every second game at club level since 2007.
David Carney has again missed out, with Osieck selecting Michael Zullo and James Troisi to play on the left hand side.
Premiership winning Brisbane Roar skipper Matt McKay is the only A League based player in the squad, but in an illustration of how the A League is developing as a nursery for future Socceroos, there are seven players in the squad who have played domestically in Australia in the last three seasons.
Brett Emerton will claim his 88th cap against Wales, which makes him the second most capped Socceroo in history, behind only Mark Schwarzer.
Socceroos Squad For Friendly Against Wales (Aug 11)
Tim Cahill, Luke DeVere, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse, Scott McDonald, Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, James Troisi, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshere, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.