Dual-nationality defender Alessandro Circati, who has rejected overtures from Italy and pledged his future to the Socceroos, has been named in Graham Arnold’s 23-man squad to take on Argentina.
Circati, who plies his trade with Serie B club Parma and has previously played for Italy’s junior teams, is the latest coup for Arnold after he called up rising Manchester City star and England youth cap Alex Robertson in March.
The 19-year-old Circati is one of two uncapped players along with Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, who has been called in at the expense of Sydney FC No.1 Andrew Redmayne for the one-off friendly in Beijing on June 15.
AS Roma’s Sydney-born playmaker Cristian Volpato, who is also eligible for Italy, is not included.
Midfielder Denis Genreau, defender Gianni Stensness and leftback Joel King have all been recalled after missing the two friendlies against Ecuador in March.
Experienced campaigners Aziz Behich, Jason Cummings, Milos Degenek, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy and Bailey Wright are all unavailable.
“Irrespective of who we played during June, I have made no secret that this window would provide a glimpse into the future,” said Arnold of a squad containing 16 players with 10 caps or fewer.
“We were always going to reward players who have had strong seasons at club level to show what they can do on the international stage.
“With the benefit of having five friendlies before our 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign starts this November, we need to use every one of these matches to prepare as best we can, as well as having one eye on January’s Asian Cup.”
This month’s friendly is the first meeting between the two sides since Argentina knocked Australia out of last year’s World Cup en route to winning the tournament.
A number of promising players, including Marco Tilio, Garang Kuol and uncapped Central Coast Mariners defender Nectar Triantis have been kept out of the Socceroos squad and will instead feature for the under-23s in the Maurice Revello Tournament in France.
The tournament is seen as a vital tune-up for Olympic qualifiers in September.
Arnold has long stressed the importance of qualifying for the Olympics, viewing next year’s Games in Paris as a key preparation tool for the 2026 World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Tom Glover, Joe Gauci
Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Jordan Bos, Alessandro Circati, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Gianni Stensness, Harry Souttar, Ryan Strain
Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Cammy Devlin, Denis Genreau, Ajdin Hrustic, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O’Neill, Alex Robertson
Forwards: Brandon Borrello, Mitch Duke, Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie.