Austrian gets nod for 'Roos
FOOTBALL: Austrian-born Jimmy Jeggo is in line to win his first Socceroos cap after being a shock inclusion in Ange Postecoglou's squad for Austrealia's next two World Cup qualifiers.
Craig Goodwin and Bailey Wright also have been recalled for Australia's next group of matches against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Friday, October 7, and Japan in Melbourne on Tuesday, October 11.
Born in Vienna, but moving to Australia with his family at a young age, the 24-year-old Jeggo came through the Green Gully youth system in Melbourne.
After three seasons with Melbourne Victory in the A-League, the midfielder crossed to Adelaide United and thrived under then coach Josep Gombau and was ultimately named the competition's young player of the season in 2014-15.
Jeggo has moved back to his country of birth to play in Austria's Bundesliga and - after some initial visa issues - has become an integral member of Sturm Graz's midfield as the club has stormed to the top of the League table.
He has played all eight games so far this season, with a stunning pass accuracy of more than 80%, as well as making 30 interceptions and winning 76% of tackles.
He said in July his immediate goal was to get games with Sturm Graz, and then "go from there” in his bid to play for Australia, which was "always in the back of your mind”.
Winger Goodwin, who has been solid for Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch league, last represented the Socceroos in the friendly against England in May.
Wright returns to the 23-man squad after a toe injury kept him out of the last two qualifiers against Iraq and the UAE.
Attackers Nathan Burns, Apostolos Giannou and right-back Josh Risdon make way for the trio.
"We've made a couple of slight tweaks to the squad in line with our mantra of selecting players who are in form and fitness and we'd like to have a good look at Craig Goodwin and James Jeggo,” Postecoglou said.
"We go to Saudi Arabia and then back to Melbourne with a squad we are comfortable can continue the good start we achieved last month.”
After the wins over Iraq (2-0) at home and the UAE (1-0) away, the Socceroos need only to beat Saudi Arabia on its home soil to consolidate top spot in their group, regardless of the result against Japan, before a final match against Thailand in November.
"When the draw was released we acknowledged that this window was a real challenge with a very tough away game followed by the clash with Japan at home but that doesn't mean we stray from the way we prepare ourselves for every match,” Postecolglou said.
"These two games come pretty quickly after the two matches we played against Iraq and the UAE and we face similar challenges against tough opposition but we are confident in our processes and planning.
"We will take the game to both opponents and trust ourselves that we can meet the challenges we face in Saudi Arabia and then back in Melbourne with strong performances and a professional application to the task at hand.”
After suffering a hamstring strain in Socceroos camp earlier this month, captain Mile Jedinak is fit.
Tim Cahill is the only A-League player named in the squad.
THE SQUAD: GK: Adam Federici, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan. Def: Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright. Mid: Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tommy Rogic. Att: Tim Cahill, Chris Ikonomidis, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie.