Socceroos could be undermanned for Asian Cup with doubts over Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic
Aaron Mooy looks set to miss the whole group stage of the Asian Cup, and possibly the entire tournament. (AP: Martin Meissner)
A knee injury to Aaron Mooy has given Socceroos coach Graham Arnold a huge headache ahead of the upcoming Asian Cup defence.
It has been reported that Mooy suffered a medial ligament strain, an injury that puts his participation in the 2019 tournament, to be held in the United Arab Emirates, in doubt.
Mooy’s English Premier League club Huddersfield Town is yet to confirm the severity of the injury.
A four-to-six week injury timeline would see Mooy miss the entirety of the group stage of the tournament.
The 28-year-old suffered the injury in Huddersfield’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal on the weekend.
However, Mooy posted a photo of his knee firmly strapped in a brace to social media, with no explanation other than three thumb-down emojis.
It poses a big selection gamble for Arnold if he names Mooy in the squad on the assumption of picking him for the knockout rounds.
Arnold has to fill the void left by Mooy in the Socceroos midfield include Melbourne Victory star James Troisi or Terry Antonis.
Troisi, 30, has previously earned 37 caps for Australia, scoring five goals, including the winner in the 2015 Asian Cup final, but has not featured for the national team since being dropped from the preliminary World Cup squad before travelling to Russia.
Antonis, 25, has enjoyed a fine season for Victory in the A-League so far, scoring three goals and providing the assist for three more, leaving him joint-second in the league for goal involvements this year, behind Keisuke Honda.
Australia’s Asian Cup defence begins against Jordan on January 6 — the first of three group-stage fixtures — before the round of 16 kicks off on January 20.
There are also doubts over midfield fulcrum Tom Rogic, who completed just 62 minutes for Celtic in its 5-1 win over Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premier League.
Rogic is battling a knee injury which he picked up on international duty with Australia, with no confirmation yet on how long he might be spending on the sidelines, although Socceroos officials are confident that he will be available in January.
His teammate Daniel Arzani had already been ruled out of Asian Cup contention after sustaining an ACL injury on his debut for Celtic in November.