Australia squad: Hibs talisman Martin Boyle not picked, Hearts duo out, Celtic injury, Arnold makes club pressure claim

The Easter Road forward is suffering from concussion and no risks will be taken over his health

Hibs forward Martin Boyle has been left out of the Australia squad for two matches later this month due to concussion, but there is still a healthy number of SPFL-based players in the latest Socceroos group to be named by their manager Graham Arnold.

Boyle’s involvement was put in serious doubt last weekend when he suffered a nasty head knock during a 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat by Rangers and there will be no chances taken with his health. His Hibs team-mate Lewis Miller has, however, been named in the squad for the double-header against Lebanon, while across the city, two Hearts players will make the journey down under after defenders Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson were picked. Jambos midfielders Cammy Devlin and Calem Nieuwenhof have not been selected, with Devlin just back from his own injury and the uncapped Nieuwenhof, who had been tipped for a maiden call-up, nursing a hamstring issue.

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St Mirren midfielder Keanu Baccus will also be present, but his club-mate Ryan Strain still recovering from injury. Celtic winger Marco Tilio, who is on loan at Melbourne City, has been ruled out because of injury.

Martin Boyle's concussion has ruled him out of Australia's double-header against Lebanon.Martin Boyle's concussion has ruled him out of Australia's double-header against Lebanon.
Martin Boyle's concussion has ruled him out of Australia's double-header against Lebanon.

Australia take on Lebanon twice, first in Parramatta on March 21 and then in Canberra on March 26, in a World Cup qualification double-header. Arnold’s squad announcement was dominated, though, by revelations that teams in Europe are putting pressure on young players to prioritise them rather than their national team. Promising Parma defender Alessandro Circati will not be part of the Australia group, with his club Parma chasing promotion to Serie A.

“I think a lot of people need to understand the pressure the players get put under from their clubs overseas,” Arnold said. “To play for Australia is a lot, Alessandro and even Cristian Volpato [at Sassuolo] it’s exactly the same, they have to focus on their club careers.”

Arnold expects the same issue for his under-23 coach Tony Vidmar, who is looking to select a strong group of players for Olympics qualifiers in April. “Tony Vidmar is getting quite a number of overseas-based clubs refusing to release players in April so it’ll be predominantly players from the A-League,” added Arnold. Hibs right-back Miller and Hearts midfielder Nieuwenhof would be eligible to play for the Olyroos.

Australia squad: Goalkeepers – Mat Ryan, Joe Gauci, Tom Glover. Defenders – Nathaniel Atkinson, Jordy Bos, Cameron Burgess, Thomas Deng, Gethin Jones, Lewis Miller, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar. Midfielders – Keanu Baccus, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Patrick Yazbek. Forwards – Brandon Borrello, Mitchell Duke, Bruno Fornaroli, Craig Goodwin, John Iredale, Sam Silvera, Adam Taggart, Kusini Yengi.