Cornthwaite, Davidson out to find their Socceroos places

Defenders Robert Cornthwaite and Jason Davidson are desperate for a chance to prove themselves to Holger Osieck in Australia's friendly with Romania on Wednesday Indonesia   By DAMIEN SOUNESS

Australia defender Robert Cornthwaite hopes Wednesday's friendly with Romania will serve as a successful audition for a berth in the Socceroos' crucial World Cup qualifier against Oman in March.

Coach Holger Osieck has named a largely European-based squad for the friendly in Malaga, including Fulham's Mark Schwarzer, Aston Villa's Brett Holman and Dinamo Moscow's Luke Wilkshire.

With captain Lucas Neill suspended for the clash with Oman, Chunnam Dragons linchpin Cornthwaite wants to establish himself as a suitable candidate in the heart of defence.

"There's a good opportunity for centre backs at the moment," he said.

"Lucas has done a fantastic job, Sasa and Spira [Matthew Spiranovic] have been around a while as well, and there's a couple of young boys that are putting their hands up and playing well for their clubs.

"It's a competitive position, so when you get your chance you're really going to have to take it."

Spiranovic is injured, while Ognenovski was omitted from the squad to allow opportunities for Cornthwaite, Middlesbrough's Rhys Williams and Ryan McGowan, who completed a move to Chinese side Shandong Luneng in December.

Cornthwaite's international career seemed dead and buried following a sole appearance in 2009 under former boss Pim Verbeek, before an unexpected call-up as injury cover for November's friendly with South Korea.

The former Adelaide United player was rushed into the starting line-up before scoring the winning goal against South Korea and duly earned selection for December's East Asian Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong.

"I've been lucky enough over the last couple of months to play a few games for the national team, but to get a call up to a very, very strong side is something I'm excited about," he said.

"I was always hopeful and confident in my ability, but to come in and start four matches and score a couple of goals - the boss has had a few nice words to say about me, which is always nice - is a good start.

"I've got to make sure that I kick on now. I've got my toe in the door and I want to make sure that I put my best foot forward and continue along this path."

Meanwhile, Socceroos defender Jason Davidson has set his sights on taking ownership of the vacant left-back position.

"It's a very big game, especially for the left back spot," he said.

"It's been up and down for a few players and I think it's been vacant for a while now.

"Michael Zullo and I are here for the left-back spot, so we'll see on Wednesday who the boss plays."

Davidson marked his international debut with an own-goal against Scotland in August but has since returned to form for Heracles Almelo in the Dutch Eredivisie.

"I've been getting a lot of game time this year and I'm confident and I'm ready to go," he said.

"I didn't have the best debut, but I'm just trying to get that out of the way and hopefully, if I do play, have some good memories."

In team selection news, Tommy Oar and Mile Jedinak [fractured cheekbone] are out of Holger Osieck's side but the coach has only opted to replace Jedinak with Melbourne Victory defender Mark Milligan.
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