Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has been dealt a major blow less than a month before the start of the Asian Cup, with midfielder Aaron Mooy almost certain to miss at least some of the tournament and playmaker Tom Rogic also struggling to be fit.
Mooy damaged knee ligaments in Huddersfield’s loss to Arsenal early on Tuesday (AEDT) and is believed to be facing four to six weeks on the sidelines.
Rogic, meanwhile, has had a persistent knee injury which may require rest, though he played more than an hour overnight for Celtic against Kilmarnock.
If the damage to Mooy’s medial ligaments is assessed at the lower end of the scale, it remains conceivable he could still be selected on the assumption he would miss at least the first two group games.
But that would be a significant gamble, as players can only be replaced before the first game of the tournament. It may yet be one that Arnold is prepared to take given Mooy’s importance to the team, and the stature he has assumed since becoming a key figure for Huddersfield in the EPL.
Arnold has already lost winger Daniel Arzani to an ACL injury that will keep him out for up to a year.