Despite speculation that Holger Osieck would use the friendly against Scotland to blood a new generation of Qantas Socceroos, the head coach is sticking to his strategy of gradual change.
Osieck, it seems, is a confirmed Darwinist, as his national team selections continue their naturalistic, almost imperceptible evolution.
The game against Scotland is meaningless, other than providing Osieck with a much-needed opportunity to bring his players together, during a drawn out World Cup qualifying campaign.
Some have suggested he might take advantage of this to blood a new generation of Socceroos, and run his eye over the most recent batch of players to head overseas, such as Mustafa Amini, Matthew Leckie or even the long-touted (but realistically never in the running) Richard Porta.
Instead, Osieck has opted mostly for names he recognises, with the exception of one or two unfamiliar names.
Jason Davidson is the bolter no one saw coming. The former Qantas Young Socceroo didn’t appear to be on the radar but his performances as a central defender for Dutch Eredivise club Heracles Almelo have been encouraging enough for Osieck to see if he can perform at a higher level.
With Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski ahead of him, Davidson, 21, could offer an alternative for the leftback role that has troubled Osieck in recent fixtures.
Matt McKay and David Carney have filled the role admirably but would be better utilised further up the pitch and, as always, a good leftback is hard to find.
The other rising star to get his chance is Ryan McGowan, already familiar to Scottish fans through his time with Hearts, which culminated in a goal and winner’s medal in last season’s Scottish Cup final.
By selecting McGowan, another fullback, Osieck is clearly testing his options to strengthen Australia’s backline, now coming under scrutiny for age and a lack of pace in both Neill and Ognenovski.
The same goes for Chris Herd, deployed by Aston Villa in midfield and across the defence last season. Herd, 23, will be desperate to finally make his national debut, after his previous call-ups were both rubbed out by injury. With the Premier League now in pre-season, Osieck has admitted he is hopeful that Herd will finally get the chance to step up.
Other questions to consider are will Adam Federici get a more-than-deserved starting chance ahead of Mark Schwarzer? Will Middlesbrough striker Scott McDonald get the game-time to finally open his account for the Socceroos?
And, of course, the absences of Kewell and Cahill should be noted. Cahill, it seems, is being given the time to fit into his new life in America, whereas Harry is stuck in limbo. It’s no surprise that he hasn’t been called up and it’s clearly fair that other players deserve their chance – but Kewell’s commitment to solo training must be being sorely tested at the moment.
What do you think of the squad to face Scotland? How do you think the team will line up? Are you surprised by some names being called up or are they some you think should have been left out? Have your say below...
The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of the author, and do not reflect those of FFA or the Qantas Socceroos.