|By CARLY ADNO
Australia coach Holger Osieck says getting away from the drama at Sydney FC may help the state of mind of stand-in Socceroos captain Brett Emerton.
Osieck addressed the media on Thursday to announce his 20-man squad for the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament, which starts for Australia on Monday.
Midfield duo Dario Vidosic and Rostyn Griffiths and right-back Luke Wilkshire all missed the final squad through injury, while Osama Malik [Adelaide United] and Ben Halloran [Brisbane Roar] returned to their clubs after missing out.
With regular captain Lucas Neill not available, Osieck confirmed Emerton will don the armband for the Socceroos during the tournament.
The German coach hopes Emerton will re-gain his form and confidence on the tour, having been part of a Sydney FC side that has struggled this A-League season.
"Sometimes for a player, to get into a different environment, to recharge psychologically, is not a bad idea," Osieck said.
With the matches falling on non-Fifa recognised dates, the young Socceroos squad has eight players in line to make their debuts, and Osieck wants Emerton to serve as a mentor.
"Emerton is one of those guys who has to guide the youngsters," Osieck said.
"He's got all the credibility, based on his pedigree, on his achievements for the country.
"I expect a lot from him, not individually, but in his position as one of the senior players to pass on the message to the upcoming generation."
Emerton is not expected to shoulder the responsibility on his own - Osieck also wants senior players Richard Garcia and Archie Thompson to play supporting roles.
"You cannot have a radical change to the young age group, they still need time and it's obvious," he said.
"Still some of the experienced guys in the group will play a leading role and that's what I asked from them."
Osieck said he was pleased with the commitment shown by his young players during their training camp in Sydney this week, but admitted many of them still need to make the step up to international level.
"The requirements on an international level are definitely higher than what they're used to," he said.
Osieck's priority for the tournament is the development of the next generation of Socceroos.
"It's no secret that we need to get fresh blood into the Socceroos," he said.
The Socceroos play hosts Hong Kong on Monday before taking on North Korea, Guam and Taiwan, with the nation topping the standings winning a place at the finals in South Korea in July, 2013.