CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Liam Rose & Anthony Kalik who have both been selected in Paul Okon’s 23-man Young Socceroos squad for a series of upcoming international friendly matches in New Zealand.
Rose and Kalik have been two of the Central Coast Mariners rising stars since joining the yellow and navy from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 2013. Kalik was the youngest contracted player in the Hyundai A-League when he put pen to paper as a 15-year-old in August 2013 to join Graham Arnold on the Central Coast.
Both Rose and Kalik have come of age this season, which is evident in their inclusion to the Hyundai A-League 2014/15 campaign at 18 and 17-years-old respectively.
Kalik has started the last two matches against Western Sydney Wanderers & Wellington Phoenix, which include an assist in the second minute of his first start against the Wanderers whilst Rose has been earmarked as a natural successor for the hard working John Hutchinson at the base of the midfield.
Rose was honoured to representing his country and credited his Hyundai A-League experience as a big reason for his inclusion.
"It's always a great feeling getting chosen to represent your country so hopefully I can do a good job," Rose said.
"Playing in the A-League has been a great experience this year, playing alongside players like Montgomery and Hutchinson has been a great experience and definitely helped my game so hopefully I can take that into camp.
"Playing against the best players in Australia and against men makes you stronger, faster and fitter."
Kalik was looking forward to uniting with his Young Socceroo counterparts and knows there is plenty of work ahead.
"It's obviously good to be selected again and I'm just looking forward to getting in and working hard with the boys," Kalik said.
"This is only the first step, we didn't qualify for the latest World Cup coming up so now we need to work hard and get ready."
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.
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.
Rose and Kalik are up for selection for this Sunday’s final Hyundai A-League match against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park and will head into camp early next week.