Hibs' Martin Boyle gets Australia World Cup nod and is joined by Hearts trio and ex-Hibees
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Lee Johnson spoke at length on Monday about the 29-year-old’s chances of featuring at the tournament, describing him as having ‘a fighting chance’, adding: “I think he will be okay… I believe he will be making an appearance, if selected, for Australia in the World Cup.”
Boyle has accrued 19 caps for the Socceroos since making his debut in November 2018 in a friendly against South Korea. He is one of 17 World Cup debutants.
Hearts trio Nathaniel Atkinson, Cammy Devlin, and Kye Rowles have also been included in the 26-man squad while former Hibs and Rangers striker Jason Cummings also made the cut, his 13 goals in 26 games for Central Coast Mariners convincing the management team to take him to the Middle East.
Former Easter Road pair Jackson Irvine and Jamie Maclaren, who was an unused substitute at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, are also in the squad and there is a healthy Scottish-based contingent joining them with Celtic midfielder Aaron Mooy, Dundee United defender Aziz Behich, and St Mirren’s Keanu Baccus all on the ‘plane, although Baccus’ Buddies colleague Ryan Strain has not been named in the squad. Former Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic has been omitted while there was disappointment for St Johnstone’s Ryan McGowan, who harboured hopes of featuring at a second World Cup after making his debut at the 2014 edition.
Former Dundee United and Ross County defender Harry Souttar, brother of John, has also made the squad after the Stoke City centre-back returned from a lengthy injury lay-off. Atkinson, Baccus, Devlin, Rowles, and Souttar were all part of Australia’s Tokyo 2020 Olyroos squad.
Boyle could travel to the Middle East this week, with Johnson revealing the winger could visit to the Aspire Academy in Doha. He said: “I’ve got to make a decision whether he goes on Wednesday to the Aspire Academy; a really good unit that might be beneficial for us because he can undertake tests that maybe we couldn’t get a hold of at this level – strength, power, scans x-ray. It’s a world-class medical and sports science facility.”
Head coach Graham Arnold said of his squad: “We have an exciting squad which will do everything to make Australia proud on the world stage. Over the past four years, 32 players have made their Australia debut. I want to thank every player who has helped the team over this journey. We called upon 68 players during the qualifying campaign and every one of them has played a part in getting us here.
“The make-up of our team reflects Australia’s multicultural landscape. Our boys come from all over the world, they all have different journeys, but we are united by one jersey.”
Australia begin their campaign against France on Wednesday November 23 before facing Tunisia on Saturday November 26. They finish their group games by taking on Denmark on Thursday December 1, with all their matches taking place at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah.