Former Socceroos call for Mooy and Rogic to play
SOCCEROOS greats say it will be impossible for Ange Postecoglou to leave Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic out of the side to play Japan on Thursday.
But fitting them in creates a huge selection conundrum given how well the team performed without the pair against Chile at the Confederations Cup.
Huddersfield's Mooy and Celtic's Rogic have started their club seasons in blistering fashion.
But the way the Socceroos harassed Chile off the ball gave food for thought as to what Postecoglou's most effective team unit might be.
Mark Bosnich, Robbie Slater, Archie Thompson and Stan Lazaridis predict Postecoglou will start both Mooy and Rogic, while Josip Skoko suggests at least one of the dynamic duo will get the nod.
Bosnich said the pieces Postecoglou puts around the two will be key.
"Against Chile all players were on the hunt when they lost the ball,” he said.
"They were much more mobile in the defensive phase of the game without those two, but you can play them as long as you have people around them who do that defensive running for them.
"Because what they do on the ball, no one else can do.
"And you can't be doing that work on the ball when you're also expecting them to run back trying to win the ball.”
The holding midfielders against Chile were Massimo Luongo and Jackson Irvine, while Tim Cahill and James Troisi played as No.10s.
All six are headed to Japan, but Thompson said, given it is a "massively important game”, he can't see Postecoglou leaving Mooy and Rogic out.
"But the question is valid: does Ange bring in the players that were missing after a game in which they did so well? My view is he will,” Slater said.
"He's his own man and you wouldn't be surprised if he left one of them out, but I think it's a big risk not to play both of them because we don't have many players at their level.”
Lazaridis said Mooy and Rogic brought an "X-factor” few others did.
"And they've had such good starts to the season,” Lazaridis said.
"They're fit, they've got the match speed at a higher level - you can't ignore that.”
Skoko said it is imperative Australia's starting line-up in Saitama is well balanced, as was the case in the Chile draw that was achieved "without necessarily our strongest team” on paper.
"Playing with two attacking players like that, you have to have the back-up for them, you have to have the guys who are going to do the running,” he said.
"If you can balance that out, great, but it's a big ask.”