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"I love this job"... but still no guarantees from Ange

Soccer

Ange Postecoglou has declared his love for the Socceroos coaching role but once more refused to guarantee his future after November’s World Cup playoff with Honduras.

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He’s foreshadowed a “discussion” about his position should Australia reach a fourth-straight World Cup by defeating the Central American nation.

But Postecoglou has grown tired – as have many observers of the national team – of having that conversation before the final playoff.

I’m not going to waste my time thinking about things that might not happen

The besieged national team coach insists his focus is purely on qualifying for the 2018 tournament in Russia, despite an incendiary report earlier this month that he could walk out on the team even if they are successful.

Postecoglou is contracted until the end of the World Cup cycle, meaning his tenure will end if he fails to defeat Honduras.

In his first media appearance since the Syria playoffs and the bombshell report, Postecoglou said he wasn’t prepared to discuss his future until after the Honduras matches.

“I’m happy to have that discussion when we qualify,” he said.

“If we don’t qualify… my future is absolutely certain.

“I’m not going to waste my time thinking about things that might or might not happen.

“The most important thing is these two games.”

Postecoglou hit back at the suggestion the report undermined his tenure or the Socceroos’ chances of qualifying.

“There’s no greater honour,” he said at a press conference in Sydney.

“I’ve done it for 11 years in different capacities… I love this job.”

Australia faces Honduras in a two-legged playoff, beginning with the away leg in San Pedro Sula on November 10 (November 11 ACDT).

Postecoglou has named a 25-man squad that will seal Australia’s World Cup qualifying fate, and with it his legacy as Socceroos coach.

Returning skipper Mile Jedinak headlines three inclusions for next month’s playoff with Honduras.

The 33-year-old’s weekend runout with club Aston Villa was enough to earn him a seat on the plane to Central America, the last away trip on the road to Russia.

Jedinak is joined by Jimmy Jeggo and Alex Gersbach in the squad, which has been extended by two players to cover for the absence of Mark Milligan and Mathew Leckie.

Milligan and Leckie are suspended for the first leg, but will join the squad for the home tie in Sydney four days later.

Both Bailey Wright and Ryan McGowan – a late inclusion for Wright after the first leg of the Syria playoff – are also included.

Postecoglou has the option to cut his 25-man squad by two after the away leg, or to bring his entire group to Sydney and make a late call on availability.

Australia can only name a bench of 12.

Mustafa Amini and injured defender Brad Smith are the only players called up for the Asian playoff success over Syria who won’t be involved in this camp.

The five players trimmed from the 30-man squad named recently are goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, midfielder Amini and attacking trio Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil and Ajdin Hrustic.

Postecoglou said the extended squad was necessary due to the taxing inter-continental travel that lay ahead.

“It has been pleasing to see so many of our players performing strongly for their clubs domestically and abroad, and I believe that puts us in good stead for our upcoming play-off matches,” he said.

“With two games in five days and extensive travel between the fixtures, every member of our squad will play an important role this November.”

The squad will begin to arrive in San Pedro Sula on Sunday, November 5 ahead of the match on Friday, November 10.

SOCCEROOS SQUAD FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFYING PLAYOFF

Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak (Levante, Spain), Mat Ryan (Brighton, England), Danny Vukovic (Genk, Belgium).

Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F Marinos, Japan), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg, Norway), Matthew Jurman (Suwon, South Korea), Ryan McGowan (Al Sharjah, UAE), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning, China), Bailey Wright (Bristol City, England).

Midfielders: Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Jackson Irvine (Hull City, England), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz, Austria), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory)*, Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)

Attackers: Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (Luzern, Switzerland), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin, Germany)*, Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa, Israel).

* Milligan and Leckie are suspended for the away leg.

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING PLAYOFF DETAILS

Away leg: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Kick-off: Friday 10 November, 4pm local (Saturday 11 November, 8.30am ACDT)

Home leg: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Kick-off: Wednesday 15 November, 8pm local/ 7.30pm ACDT

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