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Socceroos name seven debutants

Holger Osieck has named seven debutants in the Socceroos' final 20-man squad for the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament to be held in Hong Kong next week.

Osieck opted for a largely Australian-based contingent, with 16 players currently plying their trade in the A-League.

Terry Antonis, Dinjo Djulbic, Ivan Franjic, Michael Marrone, Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Matt Smith and Adam Taggart are all set to make their international debuts, while Brett Emerton, Richard Garcia, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson are the only Australians selected to be capped more than 10 times.

Despite a strong focus on giving young and fringe players their chance at representing Australia, Osieck insists it is still important to maintain experience within the squad.

"You cannot have a radical change to the young age group. They still need some time and it's obvious," he said. "Still some of the experienced guys in the group will play a leading role and that's what I asked from them.

"Because when you make the transition from one generation to the next it's not a clear to make it happen, the ones who have been around for quite some time are in a position to help the upcoming boys."

Emerton, who has scored 19 goals in 92 appearances for the Socceroos, has been named captain for the tournament and Osieck says it was an obvious choice.

"It can't be a secret when you have the most capped person in that squad and the second most capped person in Socceroos history that this person will lead the crew, that's for sure," he said.

The Socceroos face Hong Kong (December 3), DPR Korea (December 5), Guam (December 7) and Chinese Taipei (December 9) for a place in the East Asian Cup, with Japan, Korea Republic and China having already qualified for next year's tournament.

Socceroos squad: Terry Antonis, Eli Babalj, Aziz Behich, Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Ivan Franjic, Brett Emerton, Eugene Galekovic (GK), Richard Garcia, Scott Jamieson, Michael Marrone, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan (GK), Matt Smith, Adam Taggart, Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite.


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