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.
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.
“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