Arzani, Cahill set to be named in preliminary World Cup squad

Australia are close to locking in the international future of Daniel Arzani after naming the highly rated teenager in the preliminary squad for the World Cup next month.

The 19-year-old Melbourne City midfielder is expected to be named on Monday by Socceroos' coach Bert van Marwijk in a preliminary squad that could include as many as 35 players.

One of the most promising prospects in Australian football, Arzani has also been linked to the Iranian national team, for whom he is eligible to play, but appears to be edging towards representing Australia.

On the back of his captivating form in the A-League, Arzani will have the chance to become the youngest Australian ever to play at a World Cup if he survives the upcoming camp in Turkey to make the final 23-man squad.

World Cup hopeful: Teenager Daniel Arzani is set to be named in the Socceroos preliminary squad on Monday.

Australia's all-time leading goalscorer, Tim
Cahill, appears set to join Arzani in that squad on Monday. Cahill is understood to be in van Marwijk's plans for the World Cup, and the 38-year-old striker is  expected to be named despite lacking match fitness, keeping his dream of playing four consecutive World Cups alive.

Cahill has made just 10 brief appearances for English Championship club Millwall totalling 63 minutes on the field since early December. He has not scored a goal in club football all season.

Despite concerns over his match conditioning and sharpness, Cahill's experience and leadership is still regarded as being valuable for the Socceroos, and there is also a shortage of Australian centre-forwards playing regularly at a high level.

He is likely to make the next cut of 26 players who travel to Turkey for  a pre-tournament camp, where he will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness and form in front of van Marwijk.

It's understood Scotland-based striker Jamie Maclaren has done enough to earn himself a recall to the national team after playing regularly and scoring goals with Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.

Maclaren has not featured for the Socceroos since a November 2017 qualifier at home against Thailand.

It is also expected that Jets midfielder Dimitri Petratos will be on that list, so too his former attacking partner Andrew Nabbout, who is now at Urawa Red Diamonds.

Sydney FC midfielder Josh Brillante is set to be named in the provisional squad but there  is no room for Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas despite his man-of-the-match performance in their grand final win.

The squad will be trimmed to 26 players for the Turkey training camp beginning on May 19, and   the final 23-man World Cup squad will be finalised by June 4.

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