Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen this week named his 23-player squad for the AFC U-19 Championships, which will be played in China next month.
It is always an honour and a privilege to be selected in the national team for tournaments such as this one and the players and I are very excited about this upcoming period of their careers
The Australia squad includes 18 Australian-based players and five from overseas clubs including Kerem Bulut (FK Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic), Jason Davidson (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal), Matthew Fletcher (Sunderland, England), Dylan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland) and Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht, Netherlands).
Five members of the Young Socceroos squad; Kofi Danning, Sam Gallagher, Rhyan Grant, Ben Kantarovski and Tommy Oar, competed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt last year and their experience will be of great value for the current campaign.
With the top four teams from the AFC U-19 Championship qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Colombia next year.
Versleijen is confident that the group of players that he has selected will be able to achieve their goals.
“It is always an honour and a privilege to be selected in the national team for tournaments such as this one and the players and I are very excited about this upcoming period of their careers,” said Versleijen.
“Playing in tournament football gives our players much needed international experience against high quality opposition and should we achieve our goal of qualifying for the U-20 World Cup we will face even stronger opponents in Colombia.
“Our preparations have been very good for this tournament with more players in the starting line-ups for their clubs, which is very good for the National team and football in Australia.
“We have great competition for the final selection in each position on the field, and I am confident that with the players we have, we will do well in China,” concluded Versleijen.
The AFC U-19 Championship 2010 Finals will be held in the host city of Zibo, China, from 3-17 October, 2010, at the Zibo Sports Complex Stadium and Linzi Stadium.
Australia has been drawn in Group D of the competition along with Yemen, Korea Republic and Iran.
Australia plays its opening match of the tournament against Yemen on Monday 4 October, followed by Iran on Wednesday 6 October with their final group match against the Korea Republic on Friday 8 October.
The quarter finals will be played on Monday 11 October, semi-finals on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.