Socceroos: Riley McGree to miss June World Cup qualifiers

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Socceroos star Riley McGree will miss Australia’s June World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a foot injury.

McGree suffered the injury in the Socceroos’ 2-0 win over Lebanon at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium on March 21.

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder didn’t play when the teams met again in Canberra last Tuesday, instead leaving Australia’s camp early to return to his English Championship club Middlesbrough.

Boro coach Michael Carrick has subsequently announced that McGree requires surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign.

“Riley needs an operation and is out for the season,” Carrick said.

McGree was one of three Socceroos players injured across the two games against Lebanon.

Belgium-based Jordy Bos, who hurt his knee after coming on as a substitute for McGree, is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.

However, it was better news for playmaker Ajdin Hrustic, who was forced off in Australia’s 5-0 win in Canberra after copping a nasty kick to the inside of his ankle.

Hrustic returned to the Netherlands in a moon boot but was able to start for his club team Heracles in their weekend 1-0 loss to FC Twente.

The 27-year-old Dandenong product played 84 minutes of the contest before being replaced.

Regardless of the results of June’s matches against Bangladesh and Palestine, the Socceroos have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the Asian Football Confederation’s third round of World Cup qualifiers.

However, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is intent on his side winning both games to give Australia the best possible chance of being placed in pot one for the third-round draw.

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