May 30, 2015 10:44:08 UK
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has called up two uncapped players for the opening game of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Kyrgyzstan.
The Socceroos are without defender Trent Sainsbury, who has a hamstring problem, and midfielder Massimo Luongo, through an ankle injury.
It is a shame to lose Massimo and Trent but it gives an opportunity for two young players.
Postecoglou has acted by bringing in central defender Tomislav Mrcela and 18-year-old attacking midfielder Daniel de Silva.
Mrcela, who has been on the Socceroos coach’s radar for the past two years, has been picked after showing good form in the Croatian first division for NK Lokomotiva Zagreb.
De Silva caught the eye while playing in the A-League for Perth Glory, who are 13.00 to win the 2015-16 Grand Final, and internationally for the Young Socceroos.
Perth-born Mrcela left Australia aged 11, and played for the likes of NK Mosor and Hrvatski Dragovoljac before joining Lokomotiva on a four-year deal last year.
De Silva was the second-youngest player in A-League history when he made his debut for Perth in 2013 and his form earned him a $2.5 million move to Serie A side Roma.
Postecoglou said: “It is a shame to lose Massimo and Trent but it gives an opportunity for two young players who we have been watching for a while in Tomislav and Daniel.
“Daniel is a prodigious talent who has been progressing well and after watching him play for the Young Socceroos against the likes of Brazil and Mexico he has earned a chance with the Socceroos.
“Tomislav has put together two strong seasons in Croatia and he is a big strong central defender we think can add something to the squad.”
The duo will join their teammates in Dubai for a training camp starting next weekend, before the Socceroos take on Kyrgyzstan in Bishek on 16th June.
The enforced absence of Luongo is a blow that comes just two days after he secured a move from Swindon Town to Championship side Queens Park Rangers, as part of a package that also saw teammate Ben Gladwin head to Loftus Road.
QPR are 5.00 to be promoted from the Championship in 2015-16.
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