Maclaren, Wright in line for World Cup cull

Is the highest scoring overseas-based Australian about to have his World Cup dreams dashed?

And could a mainstay of Ange Postecoglou's qualification run and the brightest Socceroos defensive talent also be heading for the scrap heap?

Bert van Marwijk will cull six players from his 32-man Socceroos squad on Tuesday to produce a group of 26 to take to Turkey for a pre-World Cup training camp.

The signs are that free-scoring striker Jamie Maclaren, defensive stalwart Bailey Wright and left-back Alex Gersbach will miss the plane.

Should the Dutchman omit Maclaren, he'll be leaving Australia's most in-form forward behind.


The 24-year-old scored a hat-trick for Scottish club Hibernian in a 5-5 draw with Rangers on Sunday night (AEST).

With eight goals in 11 matches, he's found the net more times than first-choice striker Tomi Juric has all season.

Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren (left) celebrates one of his goals.

With Tim Cahill barely within cooee of competitive minutes – let alone goals – this season, the Socceroos are crying out for goals.

Players were informed of their selection fates late last week after crunch selection meetings confirmed van Marwijk's choices.

The delay in naming the 26-man group is down to a precautionary check on injuries from the weekend's action.

So long as it hasn't been announced, there's room for a last-minute change of heart.

But Maclaren believes he won't make the cut, and showed as much with a post on Twitter.

"Hat-trick on the Final day! Loved being apart of this special group of lads… time to switch off from Football and enjoy a holiday."

Ex-Socceroos winger Robbie Slater told Fox Sports he understood Wright, 25, and Gersbach were also set for the axe.

Wright is the captain of second-tier English club Bristol City and one of the key figures in Australia reaching the World Cup.

He played in a dozen qualifiers, including the successful play-off matches against Honduras and all three games at last year's warm-up tournament in Russia, the Confederations Cup.

His omission – likely for untested centre-back Alex Susnjar – would be a high-risk gamble.

In dropping Gersbach, Australia would be effectively locking in Aziz Behich to start at left-back – and benching one for the future.

The 21-year-old Gersbach has little experience with the national team but has impressed in his limited run-outs in a gold shirt.

There's no doubt that in cutting the 32-man squad to 26, talented players will miss out.

With Mat Ryan the first choice, either Mitch Langerak, Brad Jones or Danny Vukovic will be axed as the squad's goalkeepers are whittled down to three.

Two other outfielders will need to join Maclaren, Wright and Gersbach on the outer.

Likely exclusions include James Meredith, Josh Brillante, Apostolos Giannou, Andrew Nabbout or Nikita Rukavytsya.

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