The Socceroos training in Qatar during the 2022 Men's World Cup, where they will return for the 2024 Asian Cup. Photo Credit: Aleksandar Kostadinovski/Football Australia

In 2021, we were told not to talk about Bruno, but in the early stages of the 2023/24 A-League Men season all anyone has been talking about is Bruno Fornaroli.

The Melbourne Victory forward, who has scored 12 goals across the opening eight rounds of the domestic season, has been rewarded with a spot in the Socceroos Asian Cup squad for his form.

Graham Arnold, coach of the Socceroos, named a 26 player squad on Friday as the side gets ready to head back to Qatar, after an amazing run during the 2022 Men’s World Cup in the same country.

A shock exclusion from the squad is Jamie Maclaren, with the Melbourne City forward announcing in a press conference for the Melbourne Derby on Thursday he was not selected by Arnold.

Arnold’s squad selection was also impacted by the sudden international retirement of Massimo Luongo on Wednesday afternoon.

Luongo, in a statement on Instagram, indicated that after deep discussions with his family and with Arnold, the decision to retire came about because “focusing on myself, being around my family, and prolonging my club career has become priority.”

There will be two new faces in the squad, with John Iredale receiving his first senior call up after having spent time in Football Australia’s youth development pathway.

He will be joined by Gethin Jones, who was born in Perth and had previously played youth international football for Wales.

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“At our core we have an extremely connected group, who have built a strong culture over many years. We’re welcoming in some new players who I think will prove fantastic additions to that,” Arnold said.

“It’s important that we bring energy and intensity to both our preparation and play, it’s something we’ve become renowned for and will be a big part of the group’s success moving forward.

“We’ve had to be strategic with some of our selections, considering our Olympic qualification commences in April and have looked to balance the age profile and experience of players across various positions in the squad.

“I’m excited about the potential within this group and am looking forward to getting into camp in the New Year.”

The Socceroos will look to continue their good form at the Asian Cup, having remained undefeated in their last three games with wins over New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Palestine.

The 26 player squad that Australia will take to the Asian Cup

Forwards: Martin Boyle, Mitch Duke, Bruno Fornaroli, Craig Goodwin, John Iredale, Sam Silvera, Marco Tilio, Kusini Yengi

Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O’Neill, Patrick Yazbek

Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Jordy Bos, Cameron Burgess, Thomas Deng, Gethin Jones, Lewis Miller, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar

Goalkeepers: Joe Gauci, Maty Ryan, Lawrence Thomas

Australia play a friendly against Bahrain before the tournament, and will begin its Asian Cup campaign against India on the 13th January at 10:30pm AEDT.

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