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Jul 15, 2013

Osieck's anger at Socceroos availability

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has revealed he considered Australia withdrawing from the East Asian Cup because of reluctance by Asian clubs to release players including star striker Josh Kennedy.

Osieck on Tuesday named eight uncapped players in a provisional 24-man squad for the tournament, which kicks off on Saturday when the Socceroos play hosts South Korea in Seoul.

Nineteen of the squad are A-League players, while the other five - Kennedy, Robbie Cornthwaite, Matt McKay, Ryan McGowan and Erik Paartalu - are based in Asia.

But the final 23-man squad for the tournament won't be confirmed until 24 hours before the Socceroos' first match.

Osieck said that was primarily because Kennedy's J-League side Nagoya had denied his request to release the tall striker who fired Australia into the 2014 World Cup with his match-winning header against Iraq last month.

The Socceroos still hope Kennedy will be able to take part in the four-nations tournament also involving Japan and China, but Osieck said that was "up in the air".

"It's not a good situation and I don't accept it," he said.

"The foreign clubs, they created a lot of problems.

"I understand there's a formal issue, the games are not FIFA protected.

However, it's a kind of gentlemen's agreement between the participating countries ... that players from the respective leagues should be released.

"You have to honour those things."

Osieck conceded he momentarily thought about not competing in the event, which Australia was invited to play in for the first time.

"Normally, we have to be very frank, why should we go there anyway when we get discriminated (against) in a way?" he said.

"But after some internal discussion and in the spirit of fair play, we decided to go.

"Although the spirit of fair play is unilateral."

Osieck is also unsure whether Chinese-based players McKay (Changchun Yatai) and McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan) will be formally released.

Regardless, the national coach said his relatively young squad was a nod to the future and showed a lot of promise.

"I'm pretty confident there's a lot of potential in these guys," Osieck said.

"There are good elements in them which I see, which has to be nurtured, which has to be developed but you have to start at some point.

"I will see them on a decent level where they really get challenged, and I'll see if they are already in a position to properly step up or if they need a bit more time."

Socceroos squad: Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets), Joshua Brillante (Newcastle Jets), Nathan Coe (Melbourne Victory), Robert Cornthwaite (Chumnnam Dragons, South Korea), Mitchell Duke (Central Coast Mariners), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide Utd), Craig Goodwin (Newcastle Jets), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus, Japan), Matt McKay (Changchun Yatai, China), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan, China), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Wanderers), Mitch Nichols (Melbourne Victory), Jade North (Brisbane Roar), Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory), Eric Paartalu (Tianjin Teda, China), Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory), Dario Vidosic (Adelaide United), Ruben Zadkovich (Newcastle Jets).

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