Stars to miss A-League finals for Cup duty | Ralph Lauren

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Next month’s A-League finals will take on a different look with several star players set to be called up for Australia’s World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is this week due to name an extended squad for the matches against Kuwait, Taiwan, Nepal and Jordan – the team’s first games since their last qualifier in November 2019.

Among those travelling to the Middle East are expected to be key players from A-League finals contenders, including competition top scorer Jamie Maclaren.

The City marksman has notched 25 goals as his team marched to this year’s Premiers’ Plate but Tuesday’s game with Brisbane is looming as his final club appearance this season.

Defender Curtis Good and midfielder Connor Metcalfe are others from City’s squad who are expected to get the nod from Arnold.

Good, who has a solitary Socceroos appearance to his name against Ecuador in 2014, admitted if selected he would head to a preparatory camp in the United Arab Emirates with mixed emotions.

“If it does happen it’ll be bittersweet,” Good said.

“On the one hand, you get the opportunity to play for your country and then on the other hand you’re not there for the finals.

“If and when it happens it’ll be a different feeling I guess – you can ask me then.”

Others in the mix for Arnold’s plans include Sydney FC duo Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne, with the Sky Blues’ keeper in prime position to benefit from Mitch Langerak’s shock decision to retire from international football.

Adelaide United’s Craig Goodwin and Perth Glory winger Chris Ikonomidis are others who have featured under Arnold during his time in charge of the national team.

Central Coast sensation Alou Kuol could also be a bolter after his breakthrough campaign for the Mariners – while Arnold may also be eager to get Olyroos stars such as Nick D’Agostino, Denis Genreau, Reno Piscopo and Tom Glover into camp ahead of July’s Olympics in Tokyo.

Of the overseas contingent, goalkeeper Mat Ryan is expected to retain the No.1 jersey despite his struggles for game time in England and should retain the captaincy.

Other key names such as Trent Sainsbury, Mathew Leckie, Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright and Tom Rogic are all expected to join the camp in coming days.

Australia currently top their group with maximum points from their first four games and are in prime position to ease into the next phase of qualifying.

Their first match will be against Kuwait on June 3 (0430 AEST, June 4) at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.



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