Maclaren's strong form rewarded with Socceroos call-up
FOOTBALL: Brisbane Roar's Jamie Maclaren got a taste of Socceroos action in May after pledging his support for Australia.
Now the 22-year striker, who once represented Scotland at under-age level, has been given the ultimate endorsement by coach Ange Postecoglou by naming him as Tim Cahill's replacement.
Maclaren, who debuted for Australia against England, has been called up from outside the 30-man preliminary squad that was named last week for the World Cup qualifier against Thailand in Bangkok on November 15.
"It's an honour to represent your country and I'm excited to be given an opportunity to be part of the squad for the game against Thailand,” said Maclaren, whose father is Scottish.
"I'll continue to work hard and be ready to take any opportunity given.
"I can't wait to get into camp and work with this talented group of footballers and I hope to add to the appearance I've previously made for Australia.”
Postecoglou reduced the squad to 23, with Maclaren, fellow attacker Nathan Burns and defenders Josh Risdon and Milos Degenek added to the squad that drew 2-2 with Saudi Arabia and 1-1 with Japan last month.
They replace Cahill, Apo Giannou, Chris Ikonomidis and Ryan McGowan.
Postecoglou said he had been impressed by Maclaren's form with the Roar, including scoring a goal during the 2-1 A-League win over Perth.
"Jamie Maclaren was always on the radar. In the last two weeks he has looked pretty good,” he said.
"We don't want to be reliant on individuals. I know the guys I bring in will be able to do a job.”
Cahill has been battling soreness that ruled him out of City's 2-1 win over Adelaide United last Friday.
"Tim has been left out primarily because we have a 10-day lead-in, which is very rare, and I want to be able to put the squad through a lot of work,” Postecoglou said.
"He has done a lot of travel for club and country and I have decided it is better he remains in Melbourne where he is being managed well to ensure he is back on the park as soon as possible and ready for us down the track.”
The addition of Perth's Risdon and Degenek, who is back playing for 1860 Munich in Germany after recovering from a knee injury, will give Postecoglou options at right-back.
"Risdon has had a decent start to the season. Getting Milos back is great, he has worked very hard,” Postecoglou said.
While Australia currently sits second in Group B of the qualifying competition, and Thailand is last with four defeats from four games, the coach said he would be wary of the host nation.
"Thailand have been very competitive, especially at home. They are very strong technically,” he said.
Socceroos squad: Nathan Burns, Milos Degenek, Adam Federici, Alex Gersbach, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Jamie Maclaren, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Josh Risdon, Tommy Rogic, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright.