Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper, Paul Izzo has been selected in Aurelio Vidmar’s Olyroos squad (Australian U23) to take part in International Friendlies across Europe in early September.
The Aussie outfit will take on Turkey and FYR Macedonia as part of preparations for January’s Olympic Games qualifiers (AFC U23 Championships) in Doha.
The squad contains 10 players from the Hyundai A-League and as a part of their trip, the Olyroos and the Turkish U21 Men’s National team will play for the Friendship Cup, which coincides with the Centenary of the Gallipoli landing.
Izzo’s selection proves that the 20-year old shot stopper is one of the best young keepers in Australia.
“I’m excited and ready to go, I was in the Young Socceroos squad for the qualifiers but since then I have been working hard to get into the Olyroos set up,” Izzo said.
“It’s always been something that I’ve strived for and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
“Liam Reddy’s been great with me, it’s a good healthy competition between me and him, we’re pushing each other pretty hard during training,” he said.
Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley praised Izzo for his work ethic since joining the squad in July and noted the selection as being great for his development.
“When Aurelio Vidmar called me to ask how he was going, it was great for me to be able to say he’s work rate is fantastic and he’s developing everyday,” Walmsley said
“I remember Paul when he was at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), he was one of the most talented goalkeepers I had seen at that age for a long time and I include Maty Ryan amongst those.
“He has joined this squad as a 20-year old and he is now behaving on a daily basis like an experienced pro and we are really happy with his progress, to get the gig is a great tonic for him.
"He has already put the FFA Cup behind him, we don't have any fear of error and we don't want our players to play in fear of making mistakes - he's worked so hard and he now has a good chance of getting into the qualifiers for the Olympic Games and maybe representing Australia at the Olympics - we think he's good enough to go all the way.
“We want our players to represent Australia and we are proud of him,” he said.
The Olyroos will learn of their group opponents for the AFC U23 Championship when the draw is held on 12 September in Doha.
Turkey U21 v Australia U22
4 September 2015
Kasimpasa Recep Tayyip Erdogan Stadium – Istanbul, Turkey
Kick-Off: 8.30pm (local) (3:30am AEST, 5 Sept)
Macedonia U21 v Australia U22
7 September 2015
FF Macedonia Training Centre – Skopje, FYR Macedonia
Kick-Off: TBC (local)
Olyroos Squad for Turkey and FYR Macedonia matches 4-7 September 2015
Jack DUNCAN (Randers FC, Denmark), Jason GERIA (Melbourne Victory FC), Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Swansea FC, England), James DONACHIE (Brisbane Roar FC) Milos DEGENEK (1860 Munich, Germany), Joshua BRILLANTE (Empoli, Italy), Andrew HOOLE (Sydney FC), Ryan EDWARDS (Uncontracted), Jamie MACLAREN (Brisbane Roar FC), Mustafa AMINI (Randers FC, Denmark), Connor PAIN (Melbourne Victory FC) John HALL (Adelaide United FC), Brandon BORRELLO (Brisbane Roar FC), Terry ANTONIS (PAOK FC, Greece), Scott GALLOWAY (Melbourne Victory FC), Steven UGARKOVIC (NK Osijek, Croatia), Daniel DE SILVA (Roda JC Kerkrade, Netherlands), Paul IZZO (Central Coast Mariners FC), Cameron BURGESS (Fulham FC, England), Riley WOODCOCK (Sydney FC), Chris IKONOMIDIS (SS Lazio, Italy), Adam TAGGART (Fulham FC, England), Brad SMITH (Uncontracted).