By Joey Lynch
Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan has unveiled the 21-young men that will represent Australia at the U17 World Cup.
Spearheaded by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Noah Botic, Morgan’s squad is set to kick-off Australia’s 13th U17 World Cup campaign against South American nation Ecuador on 26 October Brazilian time (27 October, 10 am AEDT).
That will then be followed by a fixture Hungary on 29 October (30 October, 10 am AEDT) and a clash with junior football powerhouses Nigeria on 1 November (2 November, 7 am).
A top-two finish in Group B would guarantee Australia progression to the round of 16, as would finishing as one of the four best third-placed finishers from the tournament’s six groups.
The U17 World Cup is – historically – the international tournament where Australian representative sides have achieved their greatest success. The Joeys reached the quarterfinals of the tournament on six occasions between its first iteration in 1985 to 2001 and reached the Round of 16 in their two most recent campaigns in 2011 and 2015.
The high-water mark arrived in New Zealand in 1999, when a squad coached by Les Scheinflug advanced to the final before being downed on penalties by a Brazilian group led by future Internazionale star Adriano.
Looking to write their own chapter in that successful history will be a squad made up of three internationally based players – Botic, Sporting Lisbon’s Tristan Hammond and Southampton’s Caleb Watts – 16 youngsters signed to the academies of A-League sides, two – Nicholas Bilokapic and Michael Ruhs – who ply their trade with Sydney United in the NSW NPL and one unattached player.
Led by presumptive captain Ryan Teague, the academy of Sydney FC possesses the most representatives in the squad with four, whilst Perth Glory is next in line with three representatives. Melbourne City, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Brisbane Roar will each send two players to the squad, and Melbourne Victory and Western United will send one each.
Uncontracted Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio – who FNR understands will soon join Melbourne Victory – has also made the squad.
“The players selected represent Australia’s cultural diversity and come from all over the nation,” Morgan said at the announcement in Sydney.
“We have selected a squad that has depth, flexibility and a strong culture of doing things to the best of their ability.
“There are some boys who have been part of the journey since 2017, and others who have joined recently bringing new strengths and adding new qualities to our group.
“The level of experience is building with six international matches this year and several boys training with senior players at A-League clubs. This is a positive sign as they prepare for the biggest tournament possible for their age group but also for the longer term to have a career as a senior professional.
“We look forward to the challenges ahead, with confidence in the boys and what they can do to express themselves and represent Australia on the world stage.”
The squad is set to depart Australia – or their respective European clubs – on 7 October for a 12-day training camp in the Chilean city of Santiago. Following that period of training and acclimatization, they will then head for Brazil on 19 October.
All the Joeys’ fixtures are set to be broadcast on SBS and via The World Game’s streaming services.
Australia U-17 Men’s National Football Team (‘Joeys’) 21-Player Squad | FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019
|Idrus ABDULAHI||Melbourne City FC, Australia|
|Ali AUGLAH||Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia|
|Nicholas BILOKAPIC (Gk)||Sydney United, Australia|
|Noah BOTIC||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Germany|
|Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS||Brisbane Roar FC, Australia|
|Yaya DUKULY||Melbourne City FC, Australia|
|Luke DUZEL||Western United, Australia|
|Tristan HAMMOND||Sporting Lisbon, Portugal|
|Oliver KALAC (Gk)||Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia|
|Birkan KIRDAR||Melbourne Victory, Australia|
|Anton MLINARIC||Sydney FC, Australia|
|Trent OSTLER||Perth Glory, Australia|
|Adam PAVLESIC (Gk)||Sydney FC, Australia|
|Cameron PEUPION||Sydney FC, Australia|
|Izaack POWELL||Brisbane Roar FC, Australia|
|Joshua RAWLINS||Perth Glory, Australia|
|Michael RUHS||Sydney United, Australia|
|Ryan TEAGUE (C)||Sydney FC, Australia|
|Daniel WALSH||Perth Glory, Australia|
|Caleb WATTS||Southampton FC, England|