Bert van Marwijk has to give Newcastle Jets’ star Dimitri Petratos a Socceroos call up for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

While we’re of course all still guessing at the sort of players van Marwijk will prefer to have in his squad come June a player of Petratos’ quality and form really can’t be ignored.

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His directness towards goal as well as a clarity of mind in the final third could provide the Socceroos an edge they don’t currently possess.

The likes of Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse and James Troisi have proven quality in the side but it’s the unknown entity of Petratos that would have opposition defences on the back foot. He is the ultimate wildcard that the Socceroos need.

Van Marwijk was in attendance at Newcastle’s last home win over Melbourne Victory after which he described himself as being “positively surprised at the level of that game.”

It’s hardly a ringing endorsement and may not even be extended so far as to include Petratos but the fact he once again pulled all the strings for the Jets against a tough opponent in front of the national team coach can’t hurt his chances.

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Petratos has flourished no matter which personnel he has been surrounded by because of Newcastle’s extensive injury problems and has still managed to stand out week in week out making him one of the league’s best this season.

The Socceroos under Postecoglou at times lacked someone to drive them forward in a direct manner from out wide or centrally especially after the enterprising Matthew Leckie was pushed to wing-back which nullified his attacking threat.

Petratos can provide that and more if he is deployed off the bench as well as a world class delivery from set pieces and long-range shooting prowess that is up there with the best.

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The 25-year-old hasn’t been capped by the Socceroos but has featured at all youth levels for the green and gold and has shown fight to get his career back on track after a disappointing period in Korea.

The Socceroos are going to need fighters to even get out of their group and in Petratos van Marwijk has a ready-made if slightly inexperienced man for the international stage if the Dutchman is brave enough to include him.

 

Feature image credit to Sproule Sports Focus

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan