How Socceroos bolter reacted to shock call-up

Football: There’s plenty of surprises in Ange Postecoglou’s new-look Socceroos squad, none bigger than the inclusion of 18-year-old Riley McGree.

Riley McGree of United and Lei Lei Ma of the Jets.

ADELAIDE United midfielder Riley McGree says he was in disbelief when told of his inclusion in the Socceroos squad.

The 18-year-old was chosen in coach Ange Postecoglou’s 30-man squad for looming World Cup qualifiers after just 12 A-League appearances.

“I was lost for words. I didn’t know what to say,” McGree told reporters on Thursday.

“I didn’t really think it was true, to be honest.”

McGree started the season merely trying to get some meaningful A-League minutes.

But last-placed Adelaide United’s woes have gifted the versatile midfielder opportunities.

“Coming into the season, I thought that I would get maybe some minutes here and there,” he said.

“But due to some unfortunate circumstances of injuries and players leaving, I was thrown in at an earlier stage than I expected …(it) has helped me get where I am now.”

McGree has made an instant impression, with deft skills, high workrate — and a touch of mongrel.

Lei Lei Ma (R) of the Jets pushes Riley McGree (C).

Lei Lei Ma (R) of the Jets pushes Riley McGree (C).Source:Getty Images

“I just like to throw my body around, go in hard,” he said.

“I will never come and intentionally start a fight but if it happens I will be in there,” he said.

McGree now hopes to make the cut when Postecoglou next week trims seven players from the 30-man squad for World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

“It will be a good experience, I will be able to learn from the coaching staff and from the players,” he said.

“I think I will just take it all in my stride and grow from the experience and hopefully do well if I get the opportunity.”


Originally published as How Socceroos bolter reacted to shock call-up