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Teen star Kuol in Australia World Cup squad


Newcastle United-bound teenager Garang Kuol was included Tuesday in Australia's squad for the World Cup this month, but midfielder Tom Rogic missed out.

Japan-based striker Adam Taggart, who has scored six goals in 16 Socceroos appearances, was another surprise omission despite being a stalwart of their qualifying campaign.

That opened the door for former Scotland international Jason Cummings, who has dual nationality, to add to his single Australian cap.

Central Coast Mariners forward Kuol, who will make the switch to the Premier League in January, made his international debut against New Zealand in September.

Kuol only turned 18 in mid-September and was the youngest Socceroo since Harry Kewell in 1996.

But he has yet to start a game for his A-League side and Australia coach Graham Arnold is likely to use him as an impact player off the bench.

"An 18-year-old kid who has come out of nowhere and is on a new journey in life," said Arnold.

"We've seen these types of things happen many times at World Cups and massive games where players who are unknown come out and shock the whole of the country.

"And Garang has shown at the Mariners how he can really change a game.

"I brought him into camp against New Zealand and he really fit into the Socceroos family so well, and really a player that has zero fear," he added.

Former Celtic star Rogic withdrew just before Australia's crunch World Cup qualifiers in May, citing personal reasons, and has since struggled to make an impact at new club West Bromwich Albion.

Arnold said Rogic, who has been capped 53 times, had been "brilliant" for Australian football, but he had to select in-form players with Italy-based Ajdin Hrustic and Middlesbrough's Riley McGree preferred.

"We need players that are fit and ready and at this moment in time I just felt it was a decision to make on the playing side," said Arnold.

Veteran goalkeeper Mitch Langerak was also overlooked despite being in career-best form for J-League club Nagoya Grampus and widely seen as the number two behind skipper Mat Ryan.

Instead, Arnold opted for Danny Vukovic, along with Andrew Redmayne, the hero in Australia's penalty shootout win over Peru that confirmed their place in Qatar.

The 26-man squad features two players at their third World Cup in Ryan and Mathew Leckie, with seven at their second. The rest will be making their debut on the world's biggest stage.

"It's been a unique and difficult qualification campaign and we now arrive in Qatar with an exciting squad which will do everything to make Australia proud on the world stage," Arnold said.

Australia are in Group D and open their campaign against France before meeting Tunisia and Denmark.

Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC/AUS), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners/AUS)

Defenders: Aziz Behich (Dundee Utd/SCO), Milos Degenek (Columbus Crew/USA), Thomas Deng (Aibirex Niigata/JPN), Joel King (Odense Boldklub/DEN), Nathaniel Atkinson (Hearts/SCO), Fran Karacic (Brescia/ITA), Harry Souttar (Stoke City/ENG), Kye Rowles (Hearts/SCO), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United/AUS)

Midfielders: Aaron Mooy (Celtic/SCO), Jackson Irvine (St Pauli/GER), Ajdin Hrustic (Hellas Verona/ITA), Bailey Wright (Sunderland/ENG), Cameron Devlin (Hearts/SCO), Riley McGree (Middlesbrough/ENG), Keanu Baccus (St Mirren/SCO)

Forwards: Awer Mabil (Cadiz/ESP), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City/AUS), Martin Boyle (Hibernian/SCO), James Maclaren (Melbourne City), Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners/AUS), Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama/JPN), Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners/AUS). 


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