In a World Cup year, Australian footballers across the world will be pushing hard to ensure they have a spot on the plane to Qatar in November.
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There’s plenty of established Socceroos playing outside of Australia as well as some of the younger talent who could emerge as shock bolters if they start their respective season well.
Many football fans’ eyes will be trained to the Scottish Premiership, where it seems there’s more Aussies than ever.
There’s also a handful of stars competing in the Championship in England and a strong season could either help their team get promoted or secure a move to a Premier League team.
But it’s not just in the United Kingdom where Aussies will play their football.
Read on to find out where Aussies abroad are plying their trade!
(Players who have been capped in Australia are bolded)
Tyrese Francois – Fulham (Premier League)
Bailey Wright – Sunderland (Championship)
Dean Bouzanis – Reading (Championship)
Harry Souttar – Stoke City (Championship)
Kenny Dougall – Blackpool (Championship)
Callum Elder – Hull City (Championship)
Riley McGree – Middlesbrough (Championship)
Jay Rich-Baghuelou – Accrington Stanley (League One)
Caleb Watts – Morecambe (League One)
Jack Iredale – Bolton Wanderers (League One)
Cameron Burgess – Ipswich Town (League One)
Lachlan Brook – Crewe Alexandra (League Two)
Ashley Maynard-Brewer – Gillingham (League Two)
Tyrese Francois is the only player who, as of right now, could play Premier League football this season, but it remains an unlikely prospect. Instead, eyeballs will be focused on the Championship where several established Socceroos will be fighting tooth and nail for promotion. Riley McGree is a constant presence in Middlesbrough’s starting line-up, while Harry Souttar is arguably Stoke City’s best defender when he’s fit. Kenny Dougall will be hoping to keep Blackpool away from League One, as will Callum Elder for Hull City. Bailey Wright earned a new deal with Sunderland after helping the Black Cats to promotion and is set for a major role in ensuring they don’t drop back into the third tier again.
There’s multiple Aussie youngsters in the leagues below who could provide exciting moments and cement themselves as serious bolter candidates.
Mat Ryan – Real Sociedad (La Liga)
Awer Mabil – Cadiz (La Liga)
Mat Ryan and Awer Mabil are Australia’s sole representatives in Spain, but Ryan will seriously struggle for game time as he’s the backup keeper at Real Sociedad. A move away for the Socceroos stopper might be needed if he’s to maintain his position in Graham Arnold’s starting XI. Mabil is playing in Spain for the first time in his career and will look to set the league alight with his silky skills.
Alou Kuol – VfB Stuttgart (Bundesliga)
Ajdin Hrustic – Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
Jackson Irvine – St Pauli (2. Bundesliga)
Connor Metcalfe – St Pauli (2. Bundesliga)
Jacob Italiano – Borussia Monchengladbach (Bundesliga)
Ajdin Hrustic is the highest profile Aussie in Germany but like Ryan, he faces a battle to break into Frankfurt’s starting line-up. However, in the division below, Jackson Irvine and Connor Metcalfe will receive plenty of minutes as they look to lift St Pauli back into the Bundesliga. Irvine is a key member for the Socceroos while Metcalfe made his debut earlier this year but struggled to make his mark. Improved club performances will help him get on the plane to Qatar.
Denis Genreau – Toulouse (Ligue 1)
Alex Gersbach – Grenoble Foot 38 (Ligue 2)
After playing a key role in Toulouse’s return to Ligue 1, Denis Genreau will pit himself against some of the world’s best in the French top flight. The midfielder has struggled to find a spot in the packed Socceroos midfield but the next three months could squeeze into the squad.
Adam Taggart – Cerezo Osaka (J1 League)
Mitch Langerak – Nagoya Grampus (J1 League)
Thomas Deng – Albirex Niigata (J2 League)
Mitch Duke – Fagiano Okayama (J2 League)
Stefan Mauk – Fagiano Okayama (J2 League)
Adam Taggart has had his fair share of injury woes but when he’s fit, he’s proven he knows how to find the back of the net for his club. Mitch Langerak could and perhaps should be the Socceroos’ starting goalkeeper, but the gloveman has retired from international football. Mitch Duke may be playing in the second division but has proven to be one of Arnold’s go-to men and if he continues chipping in with goals and assists for Fagiano Okayama, it would be a surprise to see him left behind in November.
Trent Sainsbury – Al Wakrah (Qatar Stars League)
After leaving Belgian side Kortrijk, Trent Sainsbury moved to Qatar. Many football fans felt he had something still left to give in Europe but you can’t knock a man for wanting to set himself and his family up for life. Who knows, he could be gathering some good intel on what conditions the Socceroos will be facing when the World Cup rolls around.
Martin Boyle – Al Faisaly (Saudi Pro League)
Martin Boyle’s switch from Scotland to Saudi Arabia raised several eyebrows and now that Al Faisaly was relegated, he could be already looking for a way out.
A livewire of the Socceroos attack, Boyle will likely score for fun if he decides to hang around in Saudi Arabia’s second division.
Cameron Devlin – Hearts (Scottish Premiership)
Dylan McGowan – Kilmarnock (Scottish Premiership)
Nathaniel Atkinson – Hearts (Scottish Premiership)
Ryan McGowan – St Johnstone (Scottish Premiership)
Kye Rowles – Hearts (Scottish Premiership)
Keanu Baccus – St Mirren (Scottish Premiership)
Mark Birighitti – Dundee United (Scottish Premiership)
Ryan Strain – St Mirren (Scottish Premiership)
Aziz Behich – Dundee United (Scottish Premiership)
Lewis Miller – Hibernian (Scottish Premiership)
Aaron Mooy – Celtic (Scottish Premiership)
Phillip Cancar – Livingston (Scottish Premiership)
A whopping 12 Aussies now call Scotland home and for almost all of them, they have either played for the Socceroos or are within touching distance of a call-up.
Aaron Mooy will no doubt be the one to watch as the midfielder looks to finally get some club minutes under his belt after a horror spell in China. Nathaniel Atkinson and Kye Rowles will look to build on the form that got them moves to Scotland in the first place and both impressed in the Socceroos’ World Cup play-off matches. Feisty midfielder Cameron Devlin has been unlucky in terms of missing out on call-ups to the Socceroos but his strong performances for Hearts surely has him on the cusp of a selection.
Brad Smith – D.C. United (MLS)
Milos Degenek – Columbus Crew (MLS)
Fran Karacic – Brescia (Serie B)
Gianni Stensness – Viking (Eliteserien)
Nikita Rukavytsya – Maccabi Haifa (Ligat Ha’al)
James Jeggo – AS Eupen (Jupiler Pro League)
Jason Davidson – AS Eupen (Jupiler Pro League)
Danny Vukovic – NEC Nijmegen (Eredivisie)
Joshua Rawlins – FC Utrecht (Eredivisie)
Hosine Bility – FC Midtjylland (Superliga)
Zach Duncan – AGF (Superliga)
Joel King – Odense Boldklub (Superliga)