New Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk named his first squad since taking the job Tuesday, with 38-year-old Tim Cahill included after the Dutchman and his scouts monitored 100 players.
Van Marwijk was appointed in late January following the sudden departure of Ange Postecoglou and with the World Cup fast approaching, he has spent the ensuing time keeping tabs on Australians playing at home and in Europe and Asia.
With friendlies against Norway in Oslo and Colombia in London this month, he named a 29-strong preliminary squad which will be slimmed down next week.
Cahill, Australia’s most prolific international scorer with 50 goals, left the domestic A-League in January to join Championship side Millwall to get more game time and keep alive his dream of playing in a fourth World Cup in Russia.
He has barely appeared for the London side but van Marwijk included him anyway, along with Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak, Hull City’s Jackson Irvine, Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and Celtic’s Tom Rogic.
And Feyenoord ‘keeper Brad Jones, the former Liverpool and Middlesbrough custodian, was brought back from the international wilderness at the age of 35.
“Since my appointment with the Socceroos, my staff, scouts and I have monitored over 100 Australian players in the A-League, as well as in leagues across Europe and Asia,” said van Marwijk.
“We are pleased with the initial 29 players we have picked for our upcoming games against Norway and Colombia and will finalise the squad next week.
“Our upcoming matches against Norway and Colombia will provide a great chance for the players selected to press their claims for Russia.
“However the door remains ajar for all players not picked for the March window.”
Australia face Norway on March 23 and Colombia on March 27.
Squad – Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Joshua Brillante (Sydney FC/AUS), Tim Cahill (Millwall/ENG), Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos/JPN), Alex Gersbach (Racing Club de Lens/FRA), Jackson Irvine (Hull City/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), Brad Jones (Feyenoord/NED), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern/SWI), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Bluewings/KOR), Robbie Kruse (VfL Bochum/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Nagoya Grampus/JPN), Mathew Leckie (Hertha BSC/GER), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers/ENG), Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian/SCO), James Meredith (Millwall/ENG), Mark Milligan (Al Ahli/KSA), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG, Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds/JPN), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets/AUS), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), Tom Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa/ISR), Mathew Ryan (Brighton/ENG), Trent Sainsbury (Grasshopper Club Zurich/SWI), Aleksandar Susnjar (FK Mlada Boleslav/CZE), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Daniel Vukovic (Genk/BEL), Bailey Wright (Bristol City/ENG).