Wilkinson in, as Dilevski and Lazaridis withdraw
Central Coast Mariners defender Alex Wilkinson is a late inclusion into the Socceroos 22-man training squad that meets in Melbourne this week ahead of the Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait. He takes the place of Spase Dilevski, who is out with a groin injury.
Central Coast Mariners defender Alex Wilkinson is a late inclusion into the Socceroos 22-man training squad that meets in Melbourne this week ahead of the Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait.
The consistent defender comes into the camp after Queensland Roar defender Spase Dilevski was forced to withdraw from the three-day camp because of a groin injury.
Also forced out of the camp is World Cup squad member Stan Lazaridis, who has the flu and went back to Perth after missing Glory-s 3-0 loss to Sydney FC in Wollongong on Sunday. He is still expected to be right for Wednesday week-s match against Kuwait at Aussie Stadium in Sydney.
The 21-year-old Wilkinson was a consistent performer for the Mariners last season as they charged to the inaugural Hyundai A-League Grand Final and he was obviously overwhelmed by his late call-up.
"Obviously I'm honoured to have received a call up and hopefully I can make the most of this opportunity," Wilkinson said in a statement released by the Mariners.
"It's the biggest achievement a player can make in the game and I've not done it at senior level, so I can't wait."
Wilkinson coach at the Mariners Lawrie McKinna hailed the decision and has no doubts that his young defender will be around this team for many years to come.
"Alex is always one of the first names on the team sheet and the confidence he will gain from this experience will do wonders for his game and for the Mariners," said McKinna.
"I have no doubts that in future years you'll be seeing Alex included in more and more Socceroo squads. He definitely has the ability to become a key member of the Australian backline ahead of the next World Cup."
Wilkinson has previously represented Australia in the 2001 Under-17 World Championships and the 2003 World Youth Championships.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold due to trim the squad down to 18 after this week's training camp.