Newcastle Jets’ play-maker Dimi Petratos has been rewarded for his excellent A-League form in his first season at Newcastle Jets with a call-up to Socceroo coach Bert Van Marwijk’s preliminary 29 man squad in preparation for the Socceroos’ two friendly matches against Norway and Columbia in Europe later this month in preparation for the World Cup finals beginning in less than 100 days.
Petratos caught the eye of new coach Van Marwijk on his recent visit to Australia, his first since being appointed the new Socceroos’ boss. The 25 year old Petratos has scored nine goals for the Jets this season and is a major contributor in the club’s strong push for a top two spot this season.
Capped 10 times at National Youth level and U 23 level, Petratos may get the chance for a senior debut in the upcoming friendlies against Norway and Columbia given that the coach will be keen to see how he performs at international level. Having said that, Australia has no shortage of midfield talent that Van Marwijk can call on.
Petratos joins full back Alex Gersbach in the preliminary squad, however Chris Ikonomidis who recently returned to the A-League, missed selection to the squad. Petratos was one of seven new or returning players added to the squad since its most recent incarnation when it defeated Honduras last year in the World Cup qualification play-offs. Other additions include Petratos’s former Jets team mate and now J-League bound Andrew Nabbout, keeper Brad Jones, striker Jamie MacLaren, defenders James Meredith, Aleksandar Susnjar, Josh Risdon and midfielders Josh Brillante and James Troisi. Another notable inclusion is Tim Cahill who retains his place despite limited game time at club level since his last appearance in a Socceroos shirt.
Coach van Marwijk commented after naming the preliminary squad,”Since my appointment with the Socceroos, my staff, scouts and I have monitored over 100 Australian players in the A-League, as well as in leagues across Europe and Asia.”
“There are still a couple of weeks before the group gathers in Oslo, so we will continue to monitor the health and fitness of all the players in the preliminary squad, as well as those on our longer list of potential World Cup squad members.
“Our upcoming matches against Norway and Colombia will provide a great chance for the players selected to press their claims for Russia, however the door remains ajar for all players not picked for the March window.”
Socceroos squad: Aziz Behich, Josh Brillante, Tim Cahill, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Tomi Juric, Matt Jurman, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Mat Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Jamie Maclaren, James Meredith, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Dimi Petratos, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Aleksandar Susnjar, James Troisi, Danny Vukovic, Bailey Wright.