Caltex Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has named five Hyundai A-League players in his preliminary 32-man squad before the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
With 18 other Caltex Socceroos players also boasting previous Hyundai A-League experience, youngster Daniel Arzani is the newest player to be rewarded for his fine form in the 2017/18 Season.
Dimi Petratos, Joshua Brillante, James Troisi and Josh Risdon have once again been included by van Marwijk after earning call-ups for the March friendlies against Norway and Colombia.
Fresh off winning the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, Arzani has been handed a first call up into Van Marwijk’s preliminary squad after impressing for Melbourne City.
“He’s a young player, he has to learn a lot but he is someone who can make a difference,” explained Van Marwijk on Arzani’s inclusion.
“Maybe a World Championship is too early for him but I will not hesitate to nominate him if he can make a difference in the last 10 or 15 minutes.”
The 19-year-old made 15 starts in his breakout season and dazzled with his explosiveness, willingness to take players on and also managed to grab two goals and an assist playing primarily to the right of City’s attack but coming inside to act as a playmaker.
Petratos is another player rewarded for a fine season, guiding Newcastle Jets to the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
After returning from a brief stint in Asia, Petratos notched up double digits for goals and assists, contributing to a goal every 115 minutes.
The 25-year-old debuted for the Caltex Socceroos against Norway, impressing on the left wing of van Marwijk’s 4-2-3-1 but can also play on the right wing or behind the lone striker.
Unlike Petratos, Brillante was a player who did not earn minutes under van Marwijk in March but impressed enough to earn a recall.
A rock in the centre of midfield for Sydney FC as they finished first in the Regular Season, Brillante ranked second in the entire Hyundai A-League for touches on the ball.
With a stocked midfield, with names such as Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine and Massimo Luongo included, Brillante also has experience at right back having previously played there for Newcastle Jets.
Troisi has ended the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season on a high, playing a key role in Melbourne Victory coming from fourth place to win the Grand Final on Saturday.
The scorer of the winning goal in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Troisi this season grabbed five goals and four assists, playing in behind Besart Berisha for Kevin Muscat’s side.
While import Leroy George grabbed a whopping 15 assists, where Troisi shone was in playing the pass before the assist – notching up 11 ‘second assists’ meaning he was the equal fifth most creative player in the entire Hyundai A-League.
A right-back by trade, Risdon started under van Marwijk against Colombia and has been a regular when fit for Western Sydney Wanderers this season.
Risdon has already made six Caltex Socceroos appearances and acts as an option for van Marwijk in what he’s labelled a “problem position”.
Having earned a reputation for getting into attacking positions from deep, Risdon mustered up three assists in his first season in Red and Black.
The players with past Hyundai A-League experience
It’s not only the five inclusions in Van Marwijk’s squad who have starred in the Hyundai A-League, with 18 other players in the Caltex Socceroos squad having played in previous seasons.
Andrew Nabbout most recently played for Newcastle Jets, impressing enough to earn a move to Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds in January.
Likewise, impressive Hyundai A-League form opened up overseas moves for the likes of Matthew Jurman, Alex Gersbach and Jamie Maclaren in recent seasons.
Full list of Caltex Socceroos to play in the Hyundai A-League: Mathew Ryan, Mitchell Langerak, Danny Vukovic; Trent Sainsbury, Josh Risdon, Matthew Jurman, Alex Gersbach, Aziz Behich; James Troisi, Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Mark Miligan, Robbie Kruse, Mile Jedinak, Joshua Brillante; Nikita Rukavytsya, Dimi Petratos, Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Tomi Juric, Tim Cahill, Daniel Arzani.