Melbourne City defender Alex Wilkinson has been drafted into the Caltex Socceroos squad to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan later this month after a calf strain has ruled out fellow defender Matthew Spiranovic.
Spiranovic did not play for his Chinese club team Hangzhou Greentown last weekend with Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou preferring to bring the fully fit Asian Cup defender Wilkinson into the squad for the crucial two matches.
“Matthew has picked up a minor calf strain that kept him out of his game last weekend so it is best that he stays in China to get the injury right and we can bring in Alex Wilkinson who has always done the job when selected,” Postecoglou said.
“One of the advantages of creating depth in this squad over the last two years is the ability to not have to take risks with players who have an injury and we will not lose anything by having Alex come into the squad for these two crucial matches.”
The Socceroos face Tajikistan at Adelaide Oval on Thursday 24 March before the team moves to Sydney where they will take on Jordan at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday 29 March.
The Socceroos sit on top of Group B heading into the final two matches of the first round of World Cup Qualifying but Jordan are just two points behind, adding significant importance to both games.
“It’s great to get the call up for the two games against Tajikistan and Jordan because they are two very important World Cup Qualifiers,” Wilkinson said.
“It’s always an honour to get selected for the Socceroos and I’m looking forward to getting into camp in Adelaide. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to impress Ange and play my part against Tajikistan and Jordan.”
The Caltex Socceroos matches against Tajikistan (Adelaide) and Jordan (Sydney) will be broadcast exclusively LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Caltex Socceroo 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Australia v Tajikistan Australia v Jordan
24 March 2016 29 March 2016
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick off 7.30pm (8pm AEDT) 8pm kick off (AEDT)
Tickets for the Australia v Tajikistan match in Adelaide and the Australia v Jordan match in Sydney are available at www.socceroos.com.au/tickets