A-League clubs vital to Olyroos games bid

Socceroo Alex Gersbach is the only non A-League player in the Olyroos squad to face the Kiwis.
Socceroo Alex Gersbach is the only non A-League player in the Olyroos squad to face the Kiwis.

The newly independent A-League has contributed all but one of the 24 players selected for Australia's upcoming under-23 internationals against New Zealand.

Such cooperation by Australia's domestic clubs in making players available will be vital for the Olyroos' hopes of qualifying for next year's Olympic Games according to Gary van Egmond.

The Young Socceroos coach will be at the helm for the matches against New Zealand in Wollongong on September 6 and Campbelltown on September 9 with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold regaining control for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Thailand in January.

Australia last played in an Olympic football tournament in Beijing in 2008 and have to be one of the top three nations at the Asian under-23 championships to book a place in Tokyo.

"We really do want to work with the clubs," ex-Newcastle Jets coach van Egmond said.

"I know what it's like. I've been in that boat first-hand from the perspective of young players that are obviously in the A-League and representation for their country.

"It's very important year, it's a very important program the Olyroos and it's great to see that the clubs have got behind it."

Of those selected to face New Zealand, five are from Melbourne City including Connor Metcalfe, who is one of two players set to make their under-23 debut if they get on the pitch along with Western Sydney's Tate Russell.

A-League expansion club Western United along with Adelaide United and the Wanderers all have three players selected.

The only non A-League player in the squad is Socceroo Alex Gersbach.

The 22-year-old signed with Danish Superliga club AGF in July but isn't part of their first-team plans at this stage so has been allowed to travel for the under-23 friendly internationals.

"He's in a position where he hasn't played a great deal of games at the moment so that's why we looked at bringing him here for this window," van Egmond said.

Former Inter Milan youth product Reno Piscopo, whose transfer to Wellington Phoenix was confirmed on Friday, was a late withdrawal from the squad as he continues to recover from a calf injury.

Adelaide United youngster Lachlan Brook, who was a part of van Egmond's ASEAN Football Federation under-18 championship-winning team in Malaysia earlier this week, will take Piscopo's place in the squad.

OLYROOS SQUAD TO FACE NEW ZEALAND: Nathaniel Atkinson, Keanu Baccus, George Blackwood, Lachlan Brook, Nick D'Agostino, Daniel De Silva, Thomas Deng, Denis Genreau, Alex Gersbach, Thomas Glover, Tom Heward-Belle, Daniel Margush, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Aiden O'Neill, Connor O'Toole, Sebastian Pasquali, Kye Rowles, Tate Russell, Apostolos Stamatelopoulous, Ivan Vujica, Lachlan Wales, Brandon Wilson.

Australian Associated Press