McGree thought Socceroos call was 'a prank'

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The teenager was the biggest shock selection of Ange Postecoglou's latest squad, with even the Reds youngster struggling to believe his call-up

Adelaide United's Riley McGree has admitted he didn't believe it when a Football Federation Australia (FFA) representative called him about his Socceroos selection.

McGree, 18, was a shock pick in Australia's extended 30-man squad that was announced by coach Ange Postecoglou on Wednesday with the Reds midfielder having only played 13 A-League matches in his career.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, McGree said he "thought it was a prank call" when FFA contacted him about his Socceroos selection prior to this week's announcement.

"Honestly, I was a bit lost for words… yeah, I was lost for words," he said.

"I didn't know what to say to the bloke. I didn't really think it was true to be honest."

McGree added: "I told my dad prior to it being announced and he was obviously delighted and really happy for me but I let my mum find out through the announcement and she was obviously on top of the world and screaming and all this stuff, so it was good."

The South Australia local has been a rare bright moment in an otherwise dire season for Adelaide, with the versatile midfielder having impressed in both attacking and defensive roles this term.

Riley McGree Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets A-League 17022017

McGree made his senior debut for the Reds last season when he came off the bench in stoppage time in Round 24 but has quickly become one of Guillermo Amor's main men in 2016-17.

In 15 appearances in all competitions, McGree has started 10 times, including deputising for Isaias as Adelaide's defensive midfielder in the past four games.

That versatility and ability to complete an unfamiliar job caught the eye of Postecoglou.

McGree named in Socceroos squad

"I just think he’s a really exciting talent. I watched him from the first couple of games he played and he kind of makes you stand up and notice him straight away for a young guy," the Socceroos' boss said on Wednesday.

"He's been playing not in his best position for his club who are going through a difficult time and he's shown a real good temperament and an ability to tackle the task in front of him. 

"Riley is a good chance to make the 23. He's not there just to put his name amongst the 30 players, he's in the frame."

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McGree is clearly still coming to terms with his rapid rise to Australia's national team.

"It was a bit unexpected to be honest but it's a great opportunity for me as a youngster," he said.

"I guess I've been given the opportunity in the A-League - the club have been good to me, they've believed in me."

Postecoglou will trim his squad to 23 players after this weekend's games, with the Socceroos set to face Iraq on March 23 and United Arab Emirates five days later in World Cup qualifiers.

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