The good news continued today for Matt McKay and the Brisbane Roar when the midfielder was named in Ange Postecoglou’s 23-player Socceroos squad for next month’s AFC Asian Cup.
McKay’s selection came just 24 hours after he was announced as the new Roar captain and was given a two-year extension on his playing contract.
The Roar yesterday also celebrated eight selections in Alen Stajcic’s Westfield Matildas 32-player squad to begin preparations for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
McKay is among 16 players retained from the Socceroos squad that went to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and now gets the chance to add to his proud tally of 50 Socceroo caps.
The new Roar captain is among seven Hyundai A-League players in this latest Socceroos squad.
“Ange, being a former Hyundai A-League manager, knows the competition and knows the quality of some of the players in it,” McKay said.
“I’m delighted to make the squad and now we have to work extremely hard and get everything right as this is a tournament we want to do extremely well in.”
The Socceroos face Kuwait in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup in Melbourne on Friday, 9 January.
Postecoglou said he was pleased with the development of his squad since the World Cup.
“We’ve had a series of games where there have been some pretty clear objectives, particularly in terms of broadening the pool and seeing whether we could get some better balance in the squad and more depth," he said.
“There’s a good combination of the core of the group that went to the FIFA World Cup. There’s some experience there, but also a sprinkling of guys who will enhance the squad we took to the FIFA World Cup.
“We've made sure that from a long way out we were well managed in terms of the individual progress of the players.”
McKay will join the Socceroos in Melbourne for a pre-tournament training camp after the Roar’s Hyundai A-League match against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Saturday afternoon.
McKay said he was particularly looking forward to the Socceroos’ group phase game against Korea Republic in Brisbane on 17 January.
“It will be a big game. We want to win the group so we will have to go hard against the Koreans and I know it will be great to have Brisbane fans cheering us on,” McKay said.
Tickets to all AFC Asian Cup matches, including the three Socceroo group stage games, are available by logging onto www.tickets.afcasiancup.com
The Socceroos squad also includes three former Roar players - Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen) and Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht).
Roar midfielder Luke Brattan was named earlier this month in a 46-man provisional Socceroos squad and remains a shadow player if any Socceroo squad members are injured prior to the commencement of the tournament.
As club captain, McKay said it was a proud week for the Roar to have nine players named in national squads.
“It recognises that the club is producing talent,’’ he said.
“And we have plenty more coming through the younger national teams at the various levels and these selections show them that if they continue to work hard, they can make Socceroos and Matildas squads.”
SOCCEROOS SQUAD: Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United); Defenders: Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moscow), Jason Davidson (West Brom); Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC); Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen),Mathew Leckie (Ingolstadt 04), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), James Troisi (Zulte Waregem), Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix).