Arnold under fire for ‘staggering’ World Cup call

The expected omission of goalkeeper Mitch Langerak from Australia’s 26-man World Cup squad has been met with surprise and derision from former players.

The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that Langerak has missed selection in Graham Arnold’s squad, to be officially unveiled at 4pm (AEDT) on Tuesday afternoon.

Langerak was recently named as the player of the season for his Japanese club Nagoya Grampus, and most observers expected him to earn selection in the No.2 goalkeeping spot behind Mat Ryan.

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Instead, Danny Vukovic and Andrew Redmayne are tipped to be announced as part of the squad.

Socceroos’ goalkeeping coach John Crawley has had a long-standing association with all three.

The 34-year-old Langerak recently came out of international retirement, with Arnold saying at the time he wanted to “build depth” in the goalkeeping position.

But his omission in favor of Vukovic and Redmayne hasn’t gone down well.

“If Mitch has said he wants to go then this is staggering,” former Socceroo Rob Cornthwaite wrote on Twitter.

“Matt Ryan No.1 and then two No.3 keepers?

“Maybe Arnie is trying to give Ryan confidence by saying you’re under no pressure for your place? So don’t stress? Just doesn’t add up for me.”

Another former Socceroo, Tommy Oar, also tweeted his dissatisfaction.

“It’s an absolute wind up,” he said.

“Takes jobs for the boys to a whole new level. He’s been one of our best performing players consistently for the last 5 years and is one of the best blokes you’ll meet, respected by everyone.”

Gun teen rejects Socceroos

It appears likely 18-year-old Cristian Volpato will commit his international future to Italy, after reportedly snubbing a last-minute plea from Graham Arnold.

Volpato has been at the center of a tug-of-war for his services. Born and raised in Sydney, he plays for Roma after being rejected by both the Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers academies.

He is eligible for both Australia and Italy, and earlier this year played for the Italian under-23 team.

“The one thing is you don’t want to be playing each country off with each other,” Socceroos legend Harry Kewell told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Just pick it, and let it be.”

Volpato is now being managed by Francesco Totti, considered Roma’s greatest ever player, and Kewell said that’s likely to play a big part in Volpato’s decision.

“If Totti’s his agent, then, wow – I thought we’d have a 50-50 [chance] but that should probably knock it up to like 90 per cent Italy.

“Totti…has god-like stature at AS Roma.”

Premier League-bound rising star gets the nod

Cristian Volpato may have decided against representing the Socceroos, but there’s a spot for another exciting 18-year-old in Garang Kuol.

The Egyptian-born forward, who will leave the Central Coast Mariners for Premier League side Newcastle United in January, made his Socceroos debut against New Zealand in September.

“The experience he’s going to gain [if selected for the World Cup] is going to be huge,” Kewell told the Herald.

“No one will know too much about him.

“The one thing that scares a lot of defenders in this world [is] speed. If you have speed that terrifies defenders, that is a possibility that [he] can be sitting on the bench.”

Tom Rogic returns

Midfielder Tom Rogic appears set for a recall, despite missing the World Cup qualification matches against UAE and Peru due to personal reasons.

The 53-match veteran has largely been used off the bench since joining championship side West Bromwich Albion in September.

Despite a lack of serious game time, Arnold said recently the fact Rogic pulled out of the qualification matches wouldn’t be held against him.

“We need our best players and I’ve never held a grudge against anyone ever and there is no reason to have a grudge,” he said.

“The most important thing to me is he’s happy. He’s good. He’s back on the ground, he’s training, it’s great to see him at West Brom.”

Australia’s World Cup draw

All times are AEDT

Australia vs France – November 23 – 6am

Australia vs Tunisia – November 26 – 9pm

Australia vs Denmark – December 1 – 2am

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