Injured Socceroo Mooy included in 23-man squad for Asian Cup
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia coach Graham Arnold has named Aaron Mooy in his 23-man squad for the Asian Cup, hoping the injured midfielder can be fit for next month's tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
Mooy injured his right knee on club duty with Huddersfield Town and was initially expected not to play. But Socceroos staff travelled to England this week to assess whether the 28-year-old Mooy can take some part in the Asian Cup.
"Aaron wants to go to the Asian Cup, he's asked for the second opinion," Arnold said. "He wants a specialist over there. He believes he'll be ready and so do we."
Three A-League players — Josh Risdon, Chris Ikonomidis and Rhyan Grant — were included in the squad announced Thursday, but long-term striker Tomi Juric was overlooked as Australia seeks to retain the trophy it won at home in 2015.
In Juric's place, Arnold has put his faith in a forward line featuring Mat Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and veteran Robbie Kruse.
"The need for speed is up front," Arnold said. "We've got goal scorers everywhere ... it's an exciting attacking team. If you look right across the front line there's eight players that can make a difference."
This is the first tournament squad in a generation not to feature veterans Tim Cahill or Mile Jedinak, but Arnold said the quality of the squad made him confident of repeating their 2015 effort.
"We have seven games and I expect to win every game," Arnold said.
Australia plays its first match against Jordan on Jan. 6 at Al Ain.
Australia squad: Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Mitch Langerak
Defenders: Mark Milligan (captain), Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Matt Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury
Midfielder: Mustafa Amini, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic
Forwards: Martin Boyle, Chris Ikonomidis, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout