Australia included teenager Tommy Oar in an expanded provisional World Cup squad that gives Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek more flexibility for his final selection because of injuries.
Verbeek today announced a 31-man roster, four more than planned, with players including Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton carrying injuries. Eugene Galekovic was added as goalkeeping backup should any of the three other goalies get injured, Verbeek said.
Oar, an 18-year-old left winger who made his debut against Indonesia two months ago, is the youngest member of the squad, which must be cut to 23 players by June 1. The Socceroos open their World Cup campaign June 13 against Germany in Durban.
“Oar is very, very promising,” Verbeek said at a televised news conference. “It’s great for Australian football that we have a player like him. I’m sure Tommy can be a great player.”
Verbeek said that Kewell, the most experienced forward in the squad, “will be ready” for the tournament even though he’s struggled in his recovery from groin surgery in January.
The squad will go into a training camp in Melbourne on May 19 before a tune-up game against New Zealand five days later.
The Socceroos, who are also grouped with Ghana and Serbia at the 32-team World Cup in South Africa, will fly to Johannesburg on May 26 and have further tune-ups scheduled in the first week of June against Denmark and the U.S.
SOCCEROOS SQUAD: Michael Beauchamp, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Nick Carle, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Eugene Galekovic, Richard Garcia, Vince Grella, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Josh Kennedy, Harry Kewell, Shane Lowry, Scott McDonald, Mark Milligan, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mark Schwarzer, Carl Valeri, Dario Vidosic, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams.