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Big names return for Socceroos against Greece

Australia will have a more familiar look for their home friendlies against Greece in Sydney and Melbourne next month after Ange Postecoglou named his 23-man squad on Tuesday.

Postecoglou was forced to leave his Chinese Super League stars out of the squad for the friendly against England on May 28 due to the fixture not falling on a designated FIFA international date, but Tim Cahill, Apostolos Giannou, Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Spiranovic are all back for the two games against Greece.

Joining them is Mathew Leckie, Ryan McGowan and Alex Gersbach who all make a return to the squad.

Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Craig Goodwin, Tomi Juric, Brad Inman, Stefan Mauk and Alex Wilkinson were among those who missed out on selection after being picked for the England friendly.

There was still no space for A-League-winning goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, with Newcastle Jets’ Mark Birighitti the sole domestically-based shot-stopper in the squad, alongside Valencia’s Mathew Ryan and AFC Bournemouth’s Adam Federici.

Up top, Postecoglou will have a lot more experience to pick from, with Nathan Burns coming back into the squad, while Cahill and the uncapped Jamie Maclaren also offer central options, with Kruse and Leckie likely starters out wide.

Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak will travel to Australia for the games and will be joined by Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic ensuring there is a blend of strength and creativity in midfield.

At the back, Spiranovic, Sainsbury, McGowan and Bailey Wright will compete for the starting spots in the heart of defence while the full-back positions are up for grabs with Gersbach and Liverpool’s Brad Smith fighting out for the left-back spot.

Melbourne Victory’s uncapped Jason Geria is back in the squad and is a chance for a starting spot at right-back, though he will face competition from Perth Glory’s Josh Risdon.

Australia will kick off the two-game friendly series against Greece in Sydney on June 4 before taking on their European opponents in Melbourne three days later. 

Australia’s 23-man squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets), Adam Federici (AFC Bournemouth), Mathew Ryan (Valencia)

Defenders: Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Ryan McGowan (Henan Jianye), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning), Brad Smith (Liverpool),  Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown), Bailey Wright (Preston North End)

Midfielders: Chris Ikonomidis (Lazio), Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Baniyas), Aaron Mooy (Melbourne City), Tom Rogic (Celtic)

Forwards: Nathan Burns (FC Tokyo), Tim Cahill (Hangzhou Greentown), Apostolos Giannou (Guangzhou R&F), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt), Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar)

Tue 17 May, 2016
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