Uncapped Sydney FC duo Rhyan Grant and Danny Vukovic, Perth’s Rhys Williams, Melbourne Victory’s James Troisi and Denmark-based Mustafa Amini also survived as coach Ange Postecoglou trimmed his 30-man squad by seven players for the games against Iraq in Tehran next Thursday and the UAE in Sydney the following week.
The others axed included – surprisingly – former Reds star Craig Goodwin, as well as Ryan Edwards, Chris Ikonomidis, Awer Mabil and Matt McKay.
As expected, Switzerland-based striker Tomi Juric is in after further pressing his claim to spearhead Australia’s attack with a third goal in as many games for FC Luzern last weekend.
Despite Cahill’s fitness concerns and lack of game time for Melbourne City, the 37-year-old was given the green light to cater for the squad’s thin front-third stocks, while Postecoglou also kept faith in fellow forwards Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse.
On-notice defenders Trent Sainsbury and Brad Smith survived even though they sat on the sidelines yet again for Internazionale and Bournemouth over the weekend, while Burns’ latest exclusion from FC Tokyo’s match day squad added the final nail in his coffin this time around.
“We’ve come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football,” Postecoglou said.
“I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and come into camp playing well.
“We face two important games in five days and it’s good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons, and I’m confident the group we’ve selected will be ready to hit the ground running.”
The squad will begin arriving in Tehran on Sunday.
Australia: Mustafa Amini, Aziz Behich, Tim Cahill, Milos Degenek, Rhyan Grant, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Riley McGree, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, James Troisi, Danny Vukovic, Rhys Williams, Bailey Wright.
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