Australia coach Holger Osieck: Saudi Arabia clash 'as important as any match'

The Socceroos coach says his men will not be taking the February 29 match easily, despite having already sealed qualification to the next round of World Cup qualifying
It may be a dead rubber for Australia, but coach Holger Osieck believes the visit of a desperate Saudi Arabia on February 29 is still crucial for the Socceroos' development.

Osieck and his men have already sealed progression to the fourth round of AFC 2014 World Cup qualifiers, winning four of five Group D matches. 

Saudi Arabia, however, have a tenuous hold on second, with Oman just one point in arrears and facing bottom-side Thailand at home.

Osieck has declined to pick a full-strength side for the match, electing to leave the likes of Tim Cahill, Brett Holman, Joshua Kennedy and Adam Federici at their clubs.

While the match does not directly affect Australia's qualification, however, it does not make it any less crucial for the German.

"This match is as important as any match we play to further build on what we have achieved so far," Osieck said.

"Each match we play is a chance for players to prove themselves and their position in the squad. The players included from the A-League will get a closer look throughout the camp and I will make up my mind if I play them from our sessions."

Osieck decided to overlook several youngsters slowly building their careers in Europe, opting to hand recalls to experienced players such as Mark Bresciano, Michael Thwaite and Archie Thompson.

The inclusion of Melbourne Heart full-back Michael Marrone, 25, was "not just a reward for him, it's a signal for other players as well," Osieck said.

Fellow potential debutants Mat Ryan (Central Coast) and Erik Paartalu (Brisbane Roar) are also among the nine A-League players to make the squad, while new Bunyodkor signing David Carney won a surprise recall despite few appearances at club level this season.

And for those who did miss out, Osieck had another message: "You are never as good as you think you are. You are always as good as others think you are.

"There are younger players that have the talent but you don't see the desire. There have been a number of younger players that people would probably like to see... but, no.

"They have the odd action and you don't see them for 20 minutes, then you have a one-one situation and everyone says, 'Oh, did you see that?'."

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