Osieck includes McDonald and Kewell
Scott McDonald's international career has been revived by new Australia coach Holger Osieck, who has named the Middlesbrough striker in his 20-man squad for upcoming friendlies against Switzerland and Poland. The 27-year-old was left out of Pim Verbeek's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ party after failing to score in 16 appearances for the Socceroos.
It appeared that the diminutive marksman would be left on the scrapheap, but in what is close to a full-strength squad for Osieck's first two matches in charge, McDonald is one of only four players included who didn't feature in the 23-man squad for the world finals. Wellington Phoenix-bound defender Jade North, AEK rising star Nathan Burns and Urawa Red Diamonds youngster Matthew Spiranovic are the others.
Harry Kewell has been called up, while Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill are also included along with two A-League players, Jason Culina and Michael Beauchamp. Osieck said that while he hadn't seen McDonald play for Middlesbrough, he came highly recommended by several coaches in Europe.
"I contacted a lot of people in Europe that I respect a lot, top-class coaches who rate him pretty highly," said the 61-year-old German. "He has got the chance to be called. I will see how well he integrates into the team, how well he can be a valuable asset to our team."
Kewell's inclusion indicates that the Galatasaray forward is set to take his place in the AFC Asian Cup in January. "I saw him play in the Europa League game and from my perspective it was a decent performance," the coach remarked.
"He assisted the two Galatasaray goals and apart from that, his overall performance was ok. I don't see any reason not to invite him. I had a chat with Harry and was impressed by his attitude, his approach and his commitment to the team."
The Socceroos take on Switzerland on 3 September and Poland four days later, before a meeting with Paraguay at the Sydney Football Stadium on 9 October.
Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Adam Federici (Reading)
Defenders: Michael Beauchamp (Melbourne Heart), Jade North (Wellington Phoenix), David Carney (Twente), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Midfielders: Carl Valeri (Sassuolo), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United), Tim Cahill (Everton), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Dario Vidosic (Nurnberg), Brett Holman (AZ)
Forwards: Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Nathan Burns (AEK).