Former Hearts defender Ryan McGowan is poised for his first World Cup start when Australia face the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old is the obvious deputy for Australia’s injured right-back Ivan Franjic, who suffered a torn hamstring against Chile on Friday and is out of the tournament.
McGowan made his World Cup debut as a substitute against the Chileans after Franjic sustained his injury, but he could not prevent a 3-1 defeat for the Socceroos. Coach Ange Postecoglou admitted McGowan is one of the options in defence against the Dutch.
“Ryan is a solution, there could be a couple of different things in the way we approach things,” he said. “Holland represents a different problem to Chile, so we’ll have a look in the next couple of days.”
Asked about his prospects of making the starting line-up, McGowan remained cautious. The Shandong Luneng defender has played centre-back for the last 18 months but looked adept on the right against Chile.
“The boss has a few options to play out and we don’t know what he’ll do but I think everyone is devastated for Ivan that the injury has come,” he said.
“No-one likes to see that. But at the same time it’s another opportunity for one of the boys that didn’t start to prove in training they are ready to and get some game time.”