Sydney FC youngster George Blackwood has earned a call up to Paul Okon's Young Socceroos squad for a series of upcoming international friendly matches in New Zealand.
Having narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Okon is using the opportunity to play international friendly matches against nations that have qualified for U20 World Cup as part of his team’s preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship 2016 Qualifiers which will be held in from 28 September to 6 October 2015.
“This is an ideal opportunity for us to get a head start on our preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers and the next U20 World Cup,” said Okon.
“The majority of the squad that we have selected are born in 1997 compared to our opposition who are born in 1995 to compete at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“It’s important for us to play as many international matches against quality opposition for us to improve and give us a head start for qualifying for the next U20 World Cup.
“This is an ideal chance for this group of players to impress and show that they are capable of performing at international standard.
“A number of players from the Hyundai A-League were not considered for this tour due to the upcoming Finals Series, but they will definitely be considered for future matches,” concluded Okon.
The Young Socceroos will face New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Sunday 3 May and then Qatar at the same venue on Thursday 7 May. They will then meet Panama at the Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on Sunday 10 May before their final match of the series against Ghana on Wednesday 13 May at the same venue.
The AFC U-19 Championships 2016 held from 13-30 October 2016.
Young Socceroos Squad – International Friendly Series
Daniel ALESSI - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Daniel ARZANI - FFA Centre of Excellence, Australia
George BLACKWOOD - Sydney FC, Australia
Jesse DALEY - Brisbane Roar FC, Australia
Shayne D'CUNHA - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Daniel DE SILVA - Perth Glory, Australia
Thomas DENG - Melbourne Victory, Australia
Lucas DERRICK - Melbourne Victory, Australia
Alusine FOFANAH - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Perry FOTAKOPOULOS - FFA Centre of Excellence, Australia
Tom GLOVER (gk) - Tottenham Hotspur, England
Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Jordan HOLMES (gk) - AFC Bournemouth, England
Lachlan HUGHES - Sutherland Sharks, Australia
Anthony KALIK - Central Coast Mariners, Australia
Steve KUZMANOVSKI - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Jordan LAMPARD - Brisbane Roar FC, , Australia
Charles LOKOLI NGOY - Sutherland Sharks, Australia
Benjamin LYVIDIKOS - Brisbane Roar FC, , Australia
Liam McGING -Sydney United 58, Australia
Liam ROSE - Central Coast Mariners, Australia
Riley WOODCOCK - Perth Glory, Australia
Liam YOULLEY - Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia
Sydney FC take on English Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in a football classic at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 30 May. Purchase your tickets today for this not to be missed football event!