Jedinak back, Postecoglou evasive on future

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak will make his long-awaited return for the national team after being named in the final 25-man squad to play Honduras next week.

It is the first time the veteran midfield has been part of the Australia set-up since June after struggling with a groin injury that has limited him to just 75 minutes of football this season for club and country.

Jedinak played 30 minutes for Aston Villa last weekend which was enough to convince coach Ange Postecoglou that he is fit enough to combat he hot, humid and hostile atmosphere in Honduras.

The veteran's return eases some concerns over the defensive midfield position with Mark Milligan suspended for the first leg of the final 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign.

Left-back Brad Smith was omitted from the squad after suffering an injury in the recent series against Syria and replaced by Alex Gersbach. Western Sydney defender Josh Risdon retains his place alongside centre-back Matt Jurman who made his debut against Syria.

Bolter Nikita Rukavytsya keeps his place in the squad while their hero against Syria, Tim Cahill is again part of the camp.

Postecoglou declared his love for the Socceroos coaching job but once more refused to guarantee his future after the play-off with Honduras.

On Tuesday, the defiant national team coach was at his evasive best amid persistent questioning in his first press conference since an incendiary report suggested he would walk from the role even if he was successful in leading the Socceroos to Russia next year.

"I'm happy to have that discussion when we qualify," he said on Tuesday. "If we don't qualify ... my future is absolutely certain.

"I'm not going to waste my time thinking about things that might or might not happen."

Postecoglou is contracted to take the Socceroos to the World Cup, but a defeat in the two-legged showdown next month will end his tenure early.

Postecoglou insists he's been untroubled by both criticism and the conjecture over his failure to clear up whether he would continue to lead the Socceroos in Russia.

"Nothing beyond qualifying for the World Cup and getting the team ready to do that is important to me," he said, before taking aim at commentators focusing on him and not the task at hand.

"I've been called Con Postecoglou because Con and Ange are obviously easily misinterpreted, they're both ethnic names.

"I've had my surname twisted in headlines to something really clever and funny which took me back to my primary school days.

"I've been called ego-centric. Selfish. There's been calls for me to get sacked. But you know what? I'm still here. I won't change who I am and what I believe in. It doesn't hurt me. That's how people want to define me at this present moment after 30 years of football in this country.

"If I start changing the way I am after that kind of stuff then I'd be tarnishing my legacy."

Postecoglou denied suggestions of disloyalty. "When you coach your country there's no greater honour ... I've done it for 11 years in different capacities. I love this job."


Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak (Levante, Spain), Mat Ryan (Brighton, England), Danny Vukovic (Genk, Belgium).

Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F Marinos, Japan), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg, Norway), Matthew Jurman (Suwon, South Korea), Ryan McGowan (Al Sharjah, UAE), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning, China), Bailey Wright (Bristol City, England).

Midfielders: Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Jackson Irvine (Hull City, England), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz, Austria), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory)*, Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)

Forwards: Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (Luzern, Switzerland), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin, Germany)*, Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa, Israel).

* Milligan and Leckie are suspended for the away leg.

Game one (away): Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Friday, November 10, 4pm local (Saturday, November 11, 9am AEDT)

Game two (home): ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Wednesday, November 15, 8pm local/AEDT

With AAP

This story Jedinak back, Postecoglou evasive on future first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.