Caltex Socceroos squad: Attackers

Bert van Marwijk has settled on his 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with the attacking options sure to excite Caltex Socceroos fans.

The seven players to have made the cut for Russia offer a good mix of speed, power, flair and – most importantly – goals,

Here’s a look at the attackers at van Marwijk’s disposal and the form they are in heading towards Russia.

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MATHEW LECKIE (Hertha Berlin, Germany)

Age: 27

Cap Number: 550

Previous clubs: Bulleen Lions, Adelaide United, Borussia Monchengladbach, FSV Frankfurt, FC Ingolstadt 04

The story of his season:

After joining German Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin from FC Ingolstadt, Leckie grabbed five goals and an assist in his debut season in his 26 league games.

He started that run with a brace on his club debut, which was part of four league goals in his first five appearances in Berlin.

A thigh injury scuppered that early promising form, meaning he played a total of just 70 minutes across five games after the return from the Bundesliga’s winter break.

But Leckie again established himself back into the starting side late in the campaign, scoring another goal in the league in late April as well as finding the net against Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.

He’ll head to Russia full of confidence after netting a double in the 4-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic.

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Mathew Leckie in training

 

TIM CAHILL (Millwall, England)

Age: 38

Cap Number: 476

Previous clubs: Millwall, Everton, New York Red Bulls, Shanghai Shenhua, Hangzhou Greentown, Melbourne City

The story of his season:

There wasn’t a lot of action at club level for the Caltex Socceroos’ greatest-ever goalscorer in 2017/18.

He started the campaign in the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne City before opting to move to his former club Millwall in January.

While Cahill only played a total of 63 minutes in the Championship for the Lions, his signing coincided with a 15-game unbeaten run which almost saw them sneak into the play-offs.

Despite his lack of match action, Cahill’s big-game experience and habit of performing on the big stage made him a must to go to his fourth FIFA World Cup™.

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Tim Cahill strides out.

 

TOMI JURIC (FC Luzern, Switzerland

Age: 26

Cap Number: 561

Previous clubs: Croatia Sesvete, Lokomotiva, Inter Zapresic, Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers, Roda JC

The story of his season:

In his second season in the Swiss Super League, Juric enjoyed another productive campaign.

The former Western Sydney Wanderers striker started his season with a bang, netting a brace in a Europa League qualifier against Croatian side Osijek in August before adding a further four league goals by September.

But Juric’s form then took a dip, missing matches in the second-half of the season due to injury and suspension.

He netted two more goals for the remainder of the campaign but also contributed six assists in 24 starts.

Despite being under an injury cloud in Turkey, Juric has proven his fitness to van Marwijk and is a strong contender to lead the line against France in Kazan.

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Tomi Juric

 

ANDREW NABBOUT (Urawa Reds, Japan)

Age: 25

Cap Number: 592

Previous clubs: Sunshine George Cross, Heidelberg United, Moreland Zebras, Melbourne Victory, Negeri Sembilari, Newcastle Jets

The story of his season:

Talk about perfect timing. If ever Nabbout would have wanted to have a breakout season in his career, the 2017/18 Season was the ideal time.

The speedy attacker tore up the Hyundai A-League in the first few months of the season, amassing 10 goals and seven assists for the high-flying Jets.

And he has a penchant for coming up with the spectacular, as evidenced by scoring cracking goals against both Western Sydney Wanderers – which was voted the goal of the season and even went global on ESPN – and also Sydney FC in his final appearance for the Hunter club.

It helped seal a lucrative move to J-League powerhouse Urawa Red Diamonds, where he has featured in eight matches in league and cup.

And the 25-year-old continued his impeccable timing, scoring his first international goal in the friendly win over the Czech Republic, playing in the lone striker role.

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ROBBIE KRUSE (Vfl Bochum, Germany)

Age: 29

Cap Number: 542

Previous clubs: Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Bayer Leverkusen, Vfb Stuttgart, Liaoning Whowin

The story of his season:

Kruse signed with Bochum last July and in his first season with the club helped them to a sixth-place finish in the 2. Bundesliga.

Deployed predominantly on either the left or right side of an attacking three, Kruse finished the season with seven goals and six assists.

In what has been a respectable campaign for Bochum, who were relegated into the second division in 2010, the highlight for Kruse was a well-taken brace in a 2-1 victory over Erzgebirge in late April.

One of the more experienced members in this Caltex Socceroos squad, Kruse is set to appear at his first FIFA World Cup™ after injury ruled him out of the previous two tournaments.

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Robbie Kruse

 

DANIEL ARZANI (Melbourne City, Australia)

Age: 19

Cap Number: 596

Previous clubs: FFA CoE

The story of his season:

The teenager is the bolter of this Caltex Socceroos squad but you can’t argue with his selection following his breakout 2017/18 Hyundai A-League Season.

The NAB Young Footballer of the Year was instrumental in helping City to their highest ever Regular Season finish of third.

Forcing his way into the starting XI midway through the campaign, Arzani caught the eye and drew plenty of praise for his positive play, showing great close control and technical ability to beat his defender one-on-one.

In 18 appearances for City, he netted two goals, had three assists and provided plenty of highlights.

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JAMIE MACLAREN (Darmstadt 98, Germany)

Age: 24

Cap Number: 584

Previous clubs: Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar, Darmstadt 98, Hibernian

The story of his season:

Maclaren’s move to Europe at the start of the season, didn’t quite go to plan, making just seven appearances for his new club in the 2. Bundesliga.

Desperate for game time to push his FIFA World Cup™ cause, the 24-year-old went on loan to Scottish club Hibs in January.

And it was the perfect tonic. Maclaren made an instant impact for the club, finishing his spell there with eight goals in just 15 appearances, including a hat-trick against Rangers on the final day of the season.

Initially missing out on a spot in van Marwijk’s preliminary squad, Maclaren answered the call-up while on holiday in Dubai and now looms as a genuine striking option in Russia, with his speed and ability to play off the shoulder of defenders a huge asset.

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Jamie Maclaren
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This article was originally published on the Caltex Socceroos website.
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