Three Hyundai A-League players in Caltex Socceroos squad for AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™

Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold has named three Hyundai A-League players in his 23-man squad that have been selected to represent Australia at the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup.

Arnold’s squad, which has an average age of 26, will assemble in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for Australia’s pre-tournament training camp from Boxing Day (26 December 2018) onwards, and will open its AFC Asian Cup campaign against Jordan at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on January 6.

And there’s a strong Hyundai A-League flavour, with three current players – Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), and Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory FC) – receiving call-ups for the prestigious competition.

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Moreover, 19 of the 23 players set to represent the green and gold in the UAE have played in the Hyundai A-League at some point in their professional careers, highlighting the pathway Australia’s top-flight paves to the most elite levels of the game.

Arnold, who confirmed his squad at a media conference at the iconic North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, said he feels he has a selected a balanced and exciting group of players that possess great character for the tournament ahead.

“Our squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in the UAE blends youth with experience,” Arnold said. “Individually and collectively the players are determined to excel at the tournament and following the three positive camps that we have had since September I know that Australia will enter the Asian Cup with the best camaraderie in the competition.”


“It is exciting that 15 of the 23 players in the squad will be being attending their first AFC Asian Cup, and I am expecting that Australian fans will see some great performances from our kids throughout the tournament.

“In the short amount of time I have had in charge I feel that we have come a long way, and we will travel to the UAE expecting to win every match and ultimately lift the trophy in early February in Abu Dhabi.”

22 of the 23 players that have been selected for Australia’s AFC Asian Cup charge have been part of either camps or matches under Arnold since September, with 23-year-old Perth Glory flyer Chris Ikonomidis the exception.

Arnold explained that Ikonomidis deserved his place at the tournament following his standout performances in season 14 of the Hyundai A-League.

“Chris [Ikonomidis] has made a great start to his time at Perth Glory under Tony Popovic and it has been his form in the Hyundai A-League that has sealed his place in the squad,” he said. “Chris will add pace and energy to our attack, which is the consistent feature of the players that we have picked in the Socceroos’ attack for this tournament.

“We will play energetic, high-intensity football in the UAE, and the rapid attackers we have selected including Chris, Mathew [Leckie], Robbie [Kruse], Awer [Mabil], Martin [Boyle], Andrew [Nabbout], and Jamie [Maclaren] will enable us to implement our style,” he concluded.

Australia will play Jordan, Palestine, and Syria in Group B at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.

All matches will be broadcast live in Australia on FOX SPORTS.

Eight venues in four cities (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain) will host matches at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™. The tournament will kick-off in Abu Dhabi on 5 January 2019 and conclude in the same city on 1 February 2019.

Squad | Australia | AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™

Name

Club (Country)

A-International Caps (Goals)

Mustafa AMINI

AGF Aarhus (Denmark)

4 (0)

Aziz BEHICH

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

29 (2)

Martin BOYLE

Hibernian FC (Scotland)

2 (2)

Milos DEGENEK

Red Star Belgrade (Serbia)

19 (0)

Alex GERSBACH

Rosenborg BK (Norway)

5 (0)

Rhyan GRANT

Sydney FC (Australia)

1 (0)

Chris IKONOMIDIS

Perth Glory (Australia)

6 (0)

Jackson IRVINE

Hull City AFC (England)

24 (2)

Matthew JURMAN

Al-Ittihad Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)

5 (0)

Robbie KRUSE

VfL Bochum (Germany)

69 (5)

Mitchell LANGERAK (Gk)

Nagoya Grampus (Japan)

8 (0)

Mathew LECKIE

Hertha BSC (Germany)

59 (8)

Massimo LUONGO

Queens Park Rangers (England)

38 (6)

Awer MABIL

FC Midtylland (Denmark)

3 (1)

Jamie MACLAREN

Hibernian FC (Scotland)

7 (0)

Mark MILLIGAN (C)

Hibernian FC (Scotland)

73 (6)

Aaron MOOY

Huddersfield Town AFC (England)

39 (5)

Andrew NABBOUT

Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan)

7 (1)

Josh RISDON

Western Sydney Wanderers FC (Australia)

13 (0)

Tom ROGIC

Celtic FC (Scotland)

42 (8)

Mathew RYAN (Gk)

Brighton & Hove Albion FC (England)

49 (0)

Trent SAINSBURY

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

41 (3)

Daniel VUKOVIC (Gk)

KRC Genk (Belgium)

3 (0)


Note: Aaron Mooy’s knee injury will be assessed independently and by FFA’s High Performance Coordinator – Senior Physiotherapist, Phil Coles, in the United Kingdom on Friday, 21 December 2018. FFA expects to be able to provide an additional update regarding Mooy on Monday, 24 December 2018 following consultation with Huddersfield Town on Sunday afternoon (UK time). Nations competing in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ have until six (6) hours before their first match of the tournament to replace a player in their squad due to injury.

Match Schedule | Australia | AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™

Australia v Jordan
Date: Sunday, 6 January 2019
Venue: Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 3.00pm (local); 10.00pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS
Ticketswww.ticketmaster.ae

Palestine v Australia
Date: Friday, 11 January 2019
Venue: Rashid Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 3.00pm (local); 10.00pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ae

Australia v Syria
Date: Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Venue: Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 5.30pm (local); 12.30am (AEDT – Wednesday, 16 January 2019)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ae

For more information regarding the AFC Asian Cup 2019, please visit www.afcasiancup.com

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This article was originally published on the Hyundai A-League website.
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