Aug 18, 2016

    Cahill won't be rusty, says Socceroos coach


    OVERSEAS-BASED players dominate Australia's squad for the World Cup qualifiers next month, as coach Ange Postecoglou opts for experience with veteran Tim Cahill the only domestic A-League player selected.

    The reigning Asian Cup champions face Iraq in Perth on Sept 1 before taking on UAE in Abu Dhabi on Sept 6 on their road to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    Postecoglou wanted the squad to hit the ground running and focused on form and fitness in picking the team.

    While the European and Chinese seasons - where most of the squad play - are ongoing, Australia's A-League season kicks off in October.

    "It's very important, when we look at our games last year in September, October, while the performances were OK... it was really evident to us that... players who had come in underdone really struggled," Poste-coglou said.

    "When we were coming up with this squad, we were probably only taking risks with maybe a couple of players, probably Timmy (Cahill) and Mark Milligan, who haven't really played competitive football as yet... but they'll be able to cope with what we do," he added.

    He was not worried about Cahill, Australia's top scorer, who has not played after leaving Chinese Super League's Hangzhou Greentown last month.

    "He hasn't had that long off," Postecoglou said of the 36-year-old who signed for Melbourne City last week.

    "We'll assess him over the next couple of weeks with his training at City and if he has sufficient enough fitness and feels good... he'll come in.

    "Our first two opponents will be well-prepared.

    "The UAE have been in Spain for a month playing games. Iraq are in camp as we speak," he noted.