Okon names new-look Young Socceroos squad

The 20 youngsters to travel to Spain have been decided, with just two survivors from the Australian team which failed to get out of their group at the Under-20 World Cup

Paul Okon has named a 20-man Young Socceroos squad for the COTIF International Football tournament in Spain this month.

Australia will play against Qatar, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Spain in L'Alcudia between August 12-21, as they prepare the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Anthony Bouzanis and Hagi Gligor have been retained from the team which bowed out of this year's U-20 World Cup at the group stage.

Okon has called on locally based Rafael Jimenez, who plays his club football for Villarreal, as well as Christopher Ikonomidis, who recently completed a dream transfer from Atalanta to Serie A giants Lazio.

Ikonomidis had attracted interest from the Hellenic Football Federation over his potential availability for Greece, but the 18-year-old is determined to represent Australia.

There are 16 domestic-based players in the roster, including Melbourne Heart's Ben Garuccio and Melbourne Victory's Christopher Cristaldo, both of whom enjoyed their A-League debuts last season.

"This is the first stage of a new campaign with a new playing group," Okon said.

"We had originally planned to have a training camp prior to the tournament to have a look at a larger group of overseas-based players to possibly have included in this squad, but due to a number of injuries he have had to postpone that camp until later in the year.

"This (COTIF) Tournament is a very good one with four tough matches which include Spain and Mexico.

"This will be our first opportunity to develop our playing style and test ourselves against quality opposition."

Young Socceroos squad:

Anthony Bouzanis (Sydney FC), James Baldacchino (Western Sydney Wanderers), Nicholas Cowburn (Newcastle Jets), Christopher Cristaldo (Melbourne Victory), Matthew Davies (Perth Glory), Ben Garuccio (Melbourne Heart), Christopher Ikonomidis (Lazio), Rafa Jimenez (Villarreal), Hagi Gligor (Sydney FC), Awer Mabil (Adelaide United), Peter Makrillos (Stoke City), Stefan Mauk (Melbourne Heart), Jacob Melling (Adelaide United), Dylan Murnane (Melbourne Victory), Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC), Peter Skapetis (Queens Park Rangers), Nicholas Olsen (Western Sydney Wanderers), Mitchell Oxborrow (Newcastle Jets), Luke Radonich (Melbourne Victory), Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory)

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