Football 3 years ago

Mooy, Elrich basking in Socceroos sun

  • Mooy, Elrich basking in Socceroos sun

Once Western Sydney Wanderers offcuts, Socceroos odd couple Aaron Mooy and Tarek Elrich are enjoying an unlikely reunion in Socceroos colours.

It was just over three years ago that the pair - then uncapped and largely unremarkable - were brought together, alongside Kwabena Appiah, as inaugural signings for the expansion A-League side.

Mooy was homesick after six years abroad, beginning in the academy of English Premier League side Bolton then moving to Scottish outfit St Mirren in search of first-team football.

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Elrich, a championship winner with Newcastle Jets, was discarded at the end of the 2011-12 season and resorted to unofficial matches with the Lebanese side to "get my name out there".

Elrich says in a funny way, he owes his Socceroos stint to Mooy after a selection chain-reaction forced him out of Western Sydney.

"Mooy was playing as a number ten and we signed Shinji Ono and you can't drop him," he said.

"(Wanderers manager Tony Popovic) put Mooy as a six, so Jerome Polenz was moved to right-back and I missed out.

"I got another lifeline from Adelaide United and look where I am."

Mooy too chose to leave the Wanderers, moving south to Melbourne City; a switch that has proved a masterstroke.

It was not the first time Mooy was targetted by City coach John van 't Schip, having turned down the Dutch coach's offer to join the inaugural Heart squad in 2010.

Van 't Schip eventually got his man and has reaped the rewards from Mooy's first full season in his preferred role.

The 25-year-old won every major gong at City's end of season awards night in the club's best-ever year.

Mooy has played in four of the last five internationals under Postecoglou, with a trajectory heading towards the Russia 2018 World Cup.

But he doesn't feel like part of the Socceroos furniture yet.

"I don't feel at home yet, I don't really think like that and I don't want to be too comfortable," he said.

The pair are rooming together in Amman, and could easily line up together in Australia's starting 11 in the World Cup qualifier on Thursday night (early Friday morning AEDT) against Jordan.

World No.99 Jordan defeated Iraq 3-0 in a friendly match in Amman on Saturday, and Mooy said the Socceroos were taking the occasion very seriously.

"It's a very important game, they're probably the strongest team in the group," he said.

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