Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has called up Apostolos Giannou for Australia’s upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan.
Giannou, who was born in Melbourne to Greek parents, played for Australia’s Under 17 side before representing Greece at U19, U21 and senior level.
However, his one senior appearance for Greece came in a friendly game against Turkey, meaning he is still eligible to be capped by Australia.
If Giannou plays against either Tajikistan or Jordan, he will be locked to the Socceroos because they are competitive fixtures.
Postecoglou elected to pick the Guangzhou R&F forward as Australia look to qualify for a fourth-straight World Cup finals appearance, while also recalling experienced players such as Robbie Kruse, Matthew Spiranovic and Mitch Langerak, who all missed the last squad.
“It’s great to be able to bring experienced players like Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak and Matthew Spiranovic back into the squad after missing recent matches but it is equally exciting to see how a fresh crop of young players can fit into how we train and what we are trying to achieve,” Postecoglou said.
“We’ve worked hard on creating depth over the last two years and we now have a very solid and experienced spine to this team but we must also continually give players an opportunity if we want to make an impact on the world stage.
“This squad contains a group of young players who we are bringing in while they are in form and taking good strides forward both here in the Hyundai A-League and various leagues around the world.
“Getting that balance between winning football matches and giving players an opportunity is something we have been doing for two years and during that time we have had success and haven’t been let down by any of the young players.”
Giannou is joined by Melbourne Victory’s Jason Geria and Rosenborg’s Alex Gersbach as the new faces in the team, while Brad Smith, Chris Ikonomidis and Terry Antonis are the other changes from the squad that defeated Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh last November.
Australia are top of Group B in the qualification standings, two points ahead of second-placed Jordan with two games left to play. The first-placed team in each of the eight groups advances to the next round of qualifying, while four of the best second-placed teams also go through.
Goalkeepers: Adam Federici, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan
Defenders: Jason Geria, Alex Gersbach, Ryan McGowan, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright
Midfielders: Terry Antonis, Chris Ikonomidis, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tommy Rogic
Forwards: Nathan Burns, Tim Cahill, Apostolos Giannou, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie
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