Ange Postecoglou has recalled some of his biggest names into the Australia squad for the friendly games against Greece in Sydney and Melbourne in June.
Postecoglou was forced to leave his Chinese Super League stars out of the squad for the friendly against England on May 28 due to the fixture not falling on a designated FIFA international date, but Tim Cahill, Apostolos Giannou, Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Spiranovic are all back for the two games against Greece.
Giannou made his Socceroos debut in March, setting up 4 goals in the team’s 7-0 World Cup Qualifying win over Tajikistan.
With The Dodoni Series between Australia and Greece falling inside the FIFA window, Postecoglou was able to consider all available players when selecting the squad.
“The matches against Greece are about continuing to expose our players to a high level of international football,” Postecoglou said.
“The competition and intensity of these matches will definitely give us that and gives us the right preparation for the next round of World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup.
“Playing in front of big home crowds is an opportunity both for the players and the fans to build on the great atmosphere that has been created during the first round of World Cup qualifiers in Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Sydney.”
Postecoglou said a rare home international against European opposition was another benefit.
“The Asian Cup and the first round of World Cup qualifiers put our focus on Asian teams and conditions but it’s important to confront a range of styles,” Postecoglou said.
“Greece will present a different set of technical and tactical challenges and they have many players at the top level in Europe.
“Of course, the Greek Australian community will have special affinity to the matches and that will add to the occasion in Sydney and Melbourne.”
Australia will kick off the two-game friendly series against Greece in Sydney on June 4 before taking on their European opponents in Melbourne three days later.
Australia’s 23-man squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets), Adam Federici (AFC Bournemouth), Mathew Ryan (Valencia)
Defenders: Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Ryan McGowan (Henan Jianye), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning), Brad Smith (Liverpool), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown), Bailey Wright (Preston North End)
Midfielders: Chris Ikonomidis (Lazio), Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Baniyas), Aaron Mooy (Melbourne City), Tom Rogic (Celtic)
Forwards: Nathan Burns (FC Tokyo), Tim Cahill (Hangzhou Greentown), Apostolos Giannou (Guangzhou R&F), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt), Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar)
© 2016 FourFourTwo Australia | This article first appeared on 17 May 2016 on FourFourTwo Australia.