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Neill, Emerton spearhead Aus football squad

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1 Neill, Emerton spearhead Aus football squad on Tue May 24, 2011 2:44 pm

hatien


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SYDNEY (AFP) – Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton were named Tuesday in a 23-man Australian squad for friendlies against New Zealand and Serbia next month, but other top European-based stars were absent.

Captain Neill will lead the team despite a groin injury forcing him to miss the latter part of the Turkish season with club Galatasaray.

He is joined by Emerton, who scored a crucial goal for Blackburn last weekend as they avoided relegation from the English Premier League.

But Tim Cahill, David Carney, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer are all missing, either due to injuries or because they need rest.

"Obviously we are at the stage of the season with the European-based players that's very difficult after a long and very intense season," coach Holger Osieck said.

"It's great to be able to bring some of these other guys in there. Hopefully they will meet our expectations."

One of the new faces is Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson, who has been rewarded for his performances in the AFC Champions League with his first selection under Osieck.

Australia play New Zealand in Adelaide on June 5 and Serbia in Melbourne on June 7.

Squad

Alex Brosque, Nathan Coe, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Jon McKain, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Matthew Spiranovic, Archie Thompson, James Troisi, Carl Valeri, Dario Vidosic, Rhys Williams, Luke Wilkshire, Michael Zullo.

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