Jacob Italiano and Lachlan Brook highlight Olyroos squad for AFC U23 Asian Cup qualification

Borussia Monchengladbach’s Jacob Italiano and Brentford’s Lachlan Brook highlight a 21-player Olyroos squad set to take part in AFC U23 Asian Cup qualification next week. 

Currently in camp in Dubai, the squad is will transit to Tajikistan in the coming days, where they are scheduled to play Indonesia in a two-match series in Dushanbe for the right to progress to next year’s tournament in Uzbekistan. First scheduled for next January, that tournament is now set to be held from June 1 to 19, 2022.

Originally, the Olyroos had also been set to face China and Brunie as part of their qualification efforts, but those two nation’s withdrawal from qualification means Australia will only need to down the Indonesians in games on Wednesday, 27 October and Saturday, 30 October to advance. Garuda Muda has never qualified for an AFC U23 Asian Cup, but will enter the fixtures against Australia’s youth as the defending AFF U-23 Youth Championship winners — Osvaldo Ardiles Haay and Sani Rizki Fauzi firing them to a 2-1 win over Thailand in the final back in February 2019.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold having relinquished his role at the head of Australia’s U23s at the conclusion of Tokyo 2020, national technical director and U17 coach Trevor Morgan is set to lead the team in central Asia.

Western United’s Noah Botic was a star for Australia at the 2019 U17 World Cup.
Image Credit: Football Australia

With four representatives — Adam Pavlesic, Callum Talbot, Patrick Wood, and Patrick Yazbek — Sydney FC provides the largest contingent of players in Morgan’s squad, with Western United the next best represented with three — Luke Duzel, Adisu Bayew, and Noah Botic. 

Botic previoiusly starred for Morgan at the 2019 U17 World Cup in Brazil in a year in which he became the first recipiant of the Dylan Tombides Medal. After two seasons with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, the 19-year-old returned to Australia this offseason to sign with John Aloisi’s United.

Though eligible players such as Alou Kuol, Ryan Teague, Marco Tilio, and Joel King are notable absentees from the group — not surprising given the European campaigns already in action and imminent start of the 2021-22 A-League Men season — the squad has been selected to balance the need to qualify with a desire to pick a cohort of players that will be eligible to represent Australia at Paris 2024 (should it qualify).  

“It has been great to see how much it means to the players to come together,” Morgan said. “They love representing Australia and have not had the opportunity to for such a long time.

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“We have been delighted with the energy and enthusiasm that the players have shown since they’ve arrived in Dubai. While logistical and operational challenges around COVID prevented the group from arriving as one, the majority of the squad are now settled in camp and have been putting some fantastic work in on the training pitch.

“The squad we’ve selected for next week’s qualifiers casts a real eye to the future, with the core of the squad age-eligible to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in three years’ time.

“The bulk of the players in the squad have already earned A-League Men’s match minutes, and we believe that each player’s time within the national team environment this month will serve to complement his development. 

“This is something that shone through in the last U23s cycle under Graham Arnold, with players such as Harry Souttar, Denis Genreau, Riley McGree, and Connor Metcalfe combining club football and youth national team activity on their respective paths to their Socceroos debuts.

“We’re very thankful for the support of several overseas and A-Leagues clubs in sending their players to camp as early as possible. This has given the players vital extra time to build understanding, and highlights the club’s recognition of what wearing the Australian jersey means for Australian players.”

Alongside the squad selected for the games, Australian eligible players Thymos Caroutas, Aydan Hammond (brother of U17 World Cup representative Tristan), and Matthew Scarcella have all accepted an invitation to train with the squad. 

Australia U23 Men’s National Team Squad – AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers (Group G) – Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Neutral Territory):

Adisu BAYEW, Zaydan BELLO, Jordan BOS, Noah BOTIC, Lachlan BROOK, Kai CALDERBANK-PARK (Gk), Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, Luke DUZEL, Taras GOMULKA, Jacob ITALIANO, Alessandro LOPANE, Lucas MAURAGIS, Lewis MILLER, Fabian MONGE, Adam PAVLESIC (Gk), Luka PRSO, Nicholas SUMAN (Gk), Callum TALBOT, Marc TOKICH, Patrick WOOD, Patrick YAZBEK

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Header Image: Football Australia

One thought on “Jacob Italiano and Lachlan Brook highlight Olyroos squad for AFC U23 Asian Cup qualification

  1. Pingback: Show me what you’ve got: Gustavsson eagerly anticipating chance to observe A-League Women season in the flesh | JDL MEDIA

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