The Socceroos horror run of injuries in the run up to their Asian Cup opener against Jordan on Sunday, has given overlooked striker Apostolos Giannou another chance to try and break into the national team.
After missing out on selection in Graham Arnold’s initial 23 man Socceroos squad, Cyprus based Giannou has received a late call-up to join the squad after Scottish born forward Martin Boyle, injured his knee in the recent pre-tournament friendly against Oman, ruling him out of the tournament.
Joining Giannou as a late addition to the squad is midfielder James Jeggo who comes in as an injury replacement for Aaron Mooy.
The loss of Boyle, who scored twice in an auspicious debut for the Socceroos in the friendly against Lebanon late last year, is a further blow to the team’s Asian Cup campaign. It follows the loss of key players Mooy and Daniel Arzani. With winger Matthew Leckie and playmaker Tom Rogic still under injury clouds, Giannou has received the call–up to help restore depth to the Socceroos forward line. That coach Graeme Arnold has preferred him ahead of Tomi Juric, is probably a reflection of the consistent game time that Giannou has enjoyed this season at his club side AEK Larnaca for whom he has made 22 appearances this season (including Europa League matches) and scored four goals.
Giannou will likely take his place in the queue behind Andrew Nabbout, Chris Ikonomidis, Robbie Kruse, Jamie MacLaren and Awer Mabil, the other forwards in the squad, three of whom will be selected in Arnold’s starting formation.
Nevertheless, the 28-year-old will be ready if called upon to take his place in the team, either off the bench or in the starting 11, particularly if Australia progresses past the group stage. Having scored his first international goal for the Socceroos in August’s 4-0 win over Kuwait, he’ll be keen to add to his goal tally and his six caps.