Comment: Jedinak the symbol of Postecoglou's meritocracy

The elevation of the hard-working, consistent midfielder to the national captaincy is the embodiment of the values the new coach is attempting to instill in his squad
By Iain Strachan

He doesn't command a room with his presence when he enters it and you can't imagine him channelling Winston Churchill to inspire his troops at half-time.

But that's not what picking Mile Jedinak to captain the Socceroos is about. Ange Postecoglou has made it abundantly clear throughout his first eight months in the job that he doesn't place even half as much store in the ceremonial position of skipper as the sound-bite and quote hungry media do.

Postecoglou has not bestowed the armband on Jedinak because he thinks the former Mariner can grab his team-mates by the scruff of the neck and drag them kicking and screaming to heroic wins.

This appointment is first and foremost pragmatic. At 29, Jedinak should remain a regular throughout the 2015 Asian Cup, the qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup and the tournament itself, should Australia qualify.  

His elevation is also a visible symbol of the meritocracy the new coach is attempting to construct within the national team set-up.

Postecoglou's rules are simple. You have to be playing to get in the squad. You have to be playing well to get in the team. And to be captain? You have to be playing well at a high level, week in, week out.

Jedinak meets those criteria more than any other player. As Australia's only Premier League regular and the captain of a promoted team which defied expectations to avoid relegation, the Crystal Palace man is being held up by Ange as the example other Australian players should aspire to.

He doesn't possess Lucas Neill's photogenic looks and gift of the gab, far from it. With his mop of unruly hair and somewhat awkward demeanour, Mile isn't there to flirt with the camera or sweet talk the journalists.

Instead his role is to demonstrate by deed and example what it takes to reach the top and stay there. By aspiring to match his high standards, a youthful Socceroos side can improve across the board, and perhaps meet the lofty expectations Ange has set for his young charges.