Game Details

The hole that Cahill leaves in Australian football

 By Jason Dasey

Harry Kewell names best Socceroos XI and leaves out Tim Cahill

Harry Kewell announced himself on the international stage in 1997 with his World Cup qualifying goal in Tehran.

Harry Kewell's best ever Socceroos XI includes his one-time Melbourne Victory interim coach Kevin Muscat but has no place for the nation's all-time leading scorer, Tim Cahill. 

None of the current Australian side -- reigning Asian champions -- are named, including captain Mile Jedinak, with the core of Kewell's selections coming from the nation's so-called Golden Generation, many of whom played in the English Premier League.

Another surprise selection is former Stoke and Wigan midfielder Josip Skoko, who edged out Bundesliga winner Ned Zelic and ex-Leeds and Middlesbrough utility, Paul Okon.

The former Liverpool and Leeds winger, now Watford's U21 coach, made his selections based on his teammates during his 16-year span in the national team -- from 1996 to 2012 -- as he won 56 caps.

During that time, Kewell appeared in two World Cups including five World Cup qualifying campaigns, two Asian Cups including the 2011 final, and the 1997 Confederations Cup final. He scored 17 goals, many of them crucial.

Harry Kewell's Socceroos XI has a 4-4-2 formation with his 2006 World Cup boss Guus Hiddink as manager.

"I loved every moment I played in the green and gold jersey," he said. "There's no special moment because I enjoyed every moment."

So here's Kewell's line-up, as told to ESPN FC, with some explanations.

Ten of his 11 selections, with the exception of defender Kevin Muscat, were in the 2006 World Cup squad as Australia made the second round, but Stan Laziridis and Josip Skoko failed to see game time in Germany.

He tried to find a place for Cahill in the lineup but the former Everton star was reluctantly left out, along with the likes of Brett Holman, Ned Zelic, Paul Okon and John Aloisi.

Mark Schwarzer (centre) makes the cut along with former skipper Lucas Neill but Tim Cahill and Matt McKay (far left) do not.

Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer

"I was in the team with Bozza in the early part of my career [including the 1998 World Cup playoff against Iran] and he was fantastic, but Schwarzer just gets the nod because I played with him for such a long time."

Central defenders: Craig Moore and Lucas Neill

"Craig was a fantastic defender and leader. People spoke about Lucas' lack of pace but his reading of the game was fantastic. He would just be there."

Fullbacks: Stan Lazaridis and Kevin Muscat

"I thought about Scott Chipperfield but went with Stan at left-back. I've got to pick Musky because he was so committed."

Josip Skoko, celebrating after scoring a wonder goal against Greece in 2006, is the midfield bolter in Kewell's XI.

Central midfielders: Vince Grella and Josip Skoko

"This was a hard one. I played with Paul Okon and Ned Zelic in the earlier part of my career and they were top midfielders. I considered Jason Culina and even Carl Valeri for my team. Mile Jedinak has turned into a really good player but I only played with him over the last couple of years of my career. But I've gone with Skoko to partner Vinnie in the centre of the park."

Attacking midfielders: Mark Bresciano and Brett Emerton

"Bresc is an obvious choice but I also thought about Brett Holman [who scored two goals at the 2010 World Cup] on the right side before going with Emmo."

Former Leeds United teammate Viduka starts alongside Kewell in a 4-4-2 formation in his Socceroos' Dream Team.

Strikers: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka

"I'm definitely playing up front! And of course, it has be Dukes [Australia's 2006 World Cup captain] as well."

Coach: Guus Hiddink

"Guus Hiddink was the best national coach that I played for."

Jason Dasey is ESPN FC Senior Editor in Singapore. Formerly Asian editor of FourFourTwo, he was also a CNN and BBC broadcaster. Twitter: @JasonDasey.


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