Australia talisman Tim Cahill will be rested for the World Cup qualifier against Thailand to allow the veteran striker to fully recover from an Achilles complaint that ruled him out of domestic football last week.
Cahill’s omission was confirmed on Wednesday by coach Ange Postecoglou, who trimmed the Socceroos squad from 30 to 23 for the match in Bangkok on November 15.
The 36-year-old, who missed Melbourne City’s 2-1 win over Adelaide on Friday, is expected to return to A-League action on Friday against Brisbane Roar.
But Postecoglou said he would be spared the trip to Thailand where the Socceroos will have an intensive training camp before the qualifier.
“Tim has been left out primarily because we have a 10-day lead in, which is very rare, and I want to be able to put the squad through a lot of work,” Postecoglou said in a media release.
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“He has done a lot of travel for club and country and I have decided it is better he remains in Melbourne where he is being managed well to ensure he is back on the park as soon as possible and ready for us down the track.”
Cahill, Australia’s most prolific scorer with 48 goals from 94 internationals, has been used sparingly in the final phase of qualifying and came off the bench in their last start, a 1-1 draw against Japan in Melbourne.
Australia are second in Asia’s Group B on eight points, two behind leading Saudi Arabia, while Thailand have yet to secure a point after four straight defeats.
Forward Nathan Burns, fullbacks Josh Risdon and Milos Degenek, and Brisbane Roar striker Jamie Maclaren have been retained after being added to the squad of 23 who played the Japan and Saudi Arabia qualifiers.
Forwards Apo Giannou and Chris Ikonomidis as well as defender Ryan McGowan have been omitted.
Postecoglou was unhappy with his side’s attack in the home draw against Japan and criticised his team for “wasting half the game” before lifting in the second half.
He will hope the injection of more pace out wide from wingers Burns and Tommy Oar can create more chances against lowly Thailand.
“Jamie Maclaren has started the season well in Brisbane and transformed that form into a goal on the weekend so he will come into the squad, as will Burnsy, which gives us options up front,” he said.
Goalkeepers: Adam Federici, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Ryan
Defenders: Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright
Midfielders: Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tommy Rogic
Forwards: Nathan Burns, Craig Goodwin, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren