If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so the saying goes, and that’s clearly the mantra Qantas Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has adopted in naming his squads.
The trouble is that for many fans the national team is struggling, if not exactly broken, and whatever chance there was to rebuild after the 2010 World Cup has well and truly passed.
That’s why there were few surprises in Osieck’s latest squad, with the talismanic Tim Cahill recalled and evergreen goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer set to win his 100th cap for the national team.
The latter will become the first Australian to play 100 A-class internationals should he feature against Lebanon or Jordan – a truly remarkable feat for a man who started his international career off the bench when first-choice goalkeeper Robbie Zabica was sent off against Canada in 1993.
Cahill may yet prove a key player in this campaign if his performance against Japan in Brisbane is anything to go by, and there are several more familiar faces among those recalled after missing the recent friendly defeat to Scotland.
One of those is former Brisbane Roar attacker Adam Sarota – once courted by the Polish FA and currently a regular in the starting side of Dutch outfit FC Utrecht.
Employed largely as a right winger in the Netherlands, Sarota could be a left-of-field solution should the Socceroos continue to struggle for penetration up front.
It was once thought Nikita Rukavytsya was the answer to that conundrum, but the former Perth Glory attacker is only just finding his feet again after his German club Hertha Berlin were relegated in controversial circumstances last season.
Hertha lost out to Robbie Kruse’s Fortuna Düsseldorf in a tempestuous play-off and Kruse has already started to make his mark on the Bundesliga, setting up both Fortuna goals in their 2-0 opening day win against Augsburg.
All three were predicted to have bright futures in the green and gold but it’s only Kruse who has kicked on under Osieck, with the slightly-built attacker starting to contribute for both club and country.
Another youngster eager to make his mark after earning a call-up is former Young Socceroos captain James Holland.
The one-time Newcastle Jets midfielder has muscled his way into the starting line-up at Austria Vienna and played the full 90 minutes of their recent 3-0 derby win over city rivals Rapid.
And regular club football is something that’s been lacking for several Socceroos, hindering Osieck’s chances of regenerating his squad.
No wonder he’s stuck to the tried and tested so many times before and once again old-timers like Lucas Neill, Mark Bresciano and Archie Thompson will carry the torch in Lebanon and Jordan.
Thompson is once again the sole Hyundai A-League representative and having been in and out of the national team set-up under Osieck and his predecessor Pim Verbeek, the Melbourne Victory veteran would love nothing more than to contribute on what is a tricky-looking trip.
Let’s face it, this entire exercise is all about getting a result in Jordan and after being torn apart by Japan – the Samurai Blue smashed them 6-0 in Saitama – in won’t exactly be a Jordan side bristling with confidence which runs out in Amman.
But then it might not be an Australian side bristling with confidence either.
A solid performance in the friendly against Lebanon might help, but there’s little doubt recent performances have been scratchy.
And in that regard it’s no surprise Osieck has named a fairly predictable Socceroos squad.
The time will come for regeneration but right now Australia have a job to do, and Osieck is clearly banking on a host of familiar faces to do it.
The views in this article are solely those of the author and do represent those of Football Federation Australia or the Qantas Socceroos team.