Postecoglou cagey on Syria role of key man

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou speaks to the press.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou speaks to the press. Photo: Getty

Ange Postecoglou is keeping quiet on where he will play Mark Milligan against Syria, but hinted the key Socceroos utility may again be deployed in defence for at least one of the two World Cup play-off legs.

Milligan, a preferred midfielder, has been increasingly posted to Australia’s back line during the last year’s World Cup qualifiers.

On the surface, Mile Jedinak’s continued absence through injury suggests the Melbourne Victory man might be best utilised as an outright defensive midfield replacement.

But given his lack of game time over the A-League off-season, Milligan may play one leg in midfield and the other in a less taxing back three.

Which order that occurs is unclear, though Bailey Wright’s suspension on Thursday night intimates the 32-year-old could start as a stopper alongside another two from Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek and Matt Jurman.

He could then slot into the middle of the park for Tuesday’s second leg at ANZ Stadium.

Postecoglou was not forthcoming on his plans.

“It’s a difficult one because Millsy hasn’t played for a long time with the A-League being in hiatus,”‘ Postecoglou said.

“It’s certainly less of a physical toll playing in our back three, they’re things that will come into consideration.

“But he’s in good physical nick.”

Milligan will wear the armband in Thursday night’s opening World Cup play-off leg if Tim Cahill does not start.

And he could have his hands full with goal machines Firas Al-Khatib and Omar Al Somah.

A bumpy pitch in hot and humid Malacca will suit the Syrians, but Australia will benefit from the withdrawal of Syrian defender Ahmad Al Salih with a hamstring injury.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.