Australia coach Holger Osieck has selected a strong squad for their friendly against Romania, electing to leave A-League players at home.
Osieck has handed recalls to several players for the match in Malaga, Spain, on February 6, most notably to Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams, full-backs Michael Zullo and Jason Davidson, as well as Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.
The friendly against Romania – ranked three spots above Australia in 33rd place – is in preparation for the 2014 AFC World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on March 26, with Osieck keen to get a largely European-based squad together.
“I had a good look at the Australian-based and Asian-based players (in November’s friendly against South) Korea and Hong Kong (at the EAFF East Asian Cup qualifiers in December), so this is a good opportunity for me to check the performance of the European-based players that I haven’t seen since last October,” Osieck said.
“Over the past week or so, I have also been scouting a number of players throughout Europe, so I have a good idea on where they are currently at, but being in camp will give me a much better idea.”
Al Wasl defender Lucas Neill returns to the squad to captain his country, while Mark Schwarzer is likely to be back between the posts despite the return and good form of Federici.
FC Utrecht left-back Zullo has been absent the longest, having not made an appearance for his country since November, 2011.
Adam Sarota – his team-mate at the Eredivisie club – is missing, having sustained a serious knee injury against Willem II on Saturday.
Australia squad: Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Alex Brosque (Al-Ain Club), Robert Cornthwaite (Chunnam Dragons), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Adam Federici (GK, Reading), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Brett Holman (Aston Villa), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Matt Mckay (Changchun Yatai), Lucas Neill (Al-Wasl), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), Nikita Rukavytsya (FSV Mainz), Mark Schwarzer (GK, Fulham), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht).