Holger Osieck has confirmed he is set to hand out several more Socceroo debuts when Australia play China at the East Asian Cup on Sunday.
Osieck selected a relatively inexperienced squad for the EAFF tournament in Seoul, comprising domestic and Asian-based players.
Of those, Erik Paartalu, Mitchell Duke and Tomi Juric have made their debuts, the latter two scoring in a 3-2 loss to Japan on Thursday.
Several others remain untested, with the likes of Trent Sainsbury, Mark Birighitti, Josh Brillante and Connor Pain yet to pull on the green and gold at senior level.
"You will see a number of players who have never played for the Socceroos before," Osieck said when quizzed about his next line-up.
"For me, it's information I have to gain, because that was the purpose of this trip. Due to the fact a certain group of players were not eligible for this tournament, I could focus on some of the guys who have caught the eye, particularly of you guys (the media) and respond to that."
When asked which specific players he wanted to see in action, Osieck said: "I think it's everybody, training only gives you a certain kind of aspect but you get the final confirmation of performance level when you see them in a game against good opponents."
China are the only nation at the four-team tournament in South Korea to have picked close to a full-strength squad, and demonstrated their quality by fighting back from 3-1 down against Japan to draw 3-3 in their first match, before holding the hosts at bay in a 0-0 draw.
They have a chance to win the competition and retain the title they claimed in 2010 if results go their way at Jamsil Olympic Stadium, with Osieck tipping a tough match against Fu Bo's players.
"China is not an easy team to play," he said.
"They had a great comeback against Japan and they played solidly versus Korea. I can see how far our boys (need to go) to be on a level where they are competitive."
The undisputed star of the show so far for Australia has been Central Coast Mariners striker Duke, with Juric also impressing his coach.
"Mitch Duke, he looks a very good prospect," Osieck said.
"I hope he keeps going. He is definitely a very promising player."
When asked if the pair of centre-forwards could force their way into his thinking ahead of the World Cup next year, Osieck said: "I think so and I hope in Juric will get enough playing time with the Wanderers.
"Without criticising a club or getting into their business, they had a centre forward last season that should not block the path of a young promising Australian," he said, referring to goal-shy Croatian Dino Kresinger.
While Australian cannot win the East Asian Cup, they can prevent China from doing so with a draw or a victory in Sunday's game, which is followed by an eagerly anticipated clash between two fierce local rivals, South Korea and group leaders Japan.
|Coach: H. Osieck|
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