Why did Bert Van Marwijk decide to cut Jamie Maclaren, Bailey Wright and others from Australia's 26-man World Cup squad?

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Kieran Francis looks at the possible reasons why the Dutch coach chopped the unlucky six

Australian football fans have been in an absolute rage since it was revealed in-form Scottish-based striker Jamie Maclaren was going to miss the squad for Russia.

Maclaren was among six players, including Bailey Wright, Mitchell Langerak, Alex Gersbach, Apostolos Giannou and Aleksandr Susnjar, to be overlooked for the 26-man preliminary Socceroos World Cup squad.

But why did Australian coach Bert Van Marwijk opt to snub these players?

Goal investigates the possible reasons why...

Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian)

Despite scoring eight goals in 13 games for Scotland's Hibernian, including a hat-trick last Sunday, Maclaren was chopped from the green and gold squad to attend the pre-World Cup training camp in Turkey.

It's probably clear the writing was on the wall pretty early for the 24-year-old striker when he was left out of Van Marwijk's first Socceroos squad for the matches against Norway and Colombia.

But it must be remembered that it isn't only our temporary Dutch coach who hasn't rated Maclaren when selecting the national team - former boss Ange Postecoglou had a similar opinion.

While Maclaren was given a few opportunities under Postecoglou, he was mostly overlooked despite being the A-League's top Australian scorer over two seasons with Brisbane Roar.

Watching the Socceroos' style under Postecoglou and seeing Maclaren play week-in, week-out for Brisbane Roar - there was no surprise he wasn't a preferred option for the green and gold.

Postecoglou favoured a possession-based game-plan designed to extract maximum attacking opportunities from weaker teams but also counter against the stronger opposition.

Examples of this style in full flight on both sides of the spectrum was the attacking avalanche against Thailand at AAMI Park and solid performance against Chile in the Confederations Cup.

Unfortunately Maclaren is not suited to a technical style of play. His strengths aren't passing, dribbling, holding up the ball, being a physical presence in the box or assisting goals. He thrives in putting the ball in the back of the net - his opportunistic finishes for Hibernian are great examples of that.

Jamie Maclaren Hibernian

A lethal attacker with similar attribute deficiencies to Maclaren is Mexican forward Javier Hernandez.

Despite banging the goals in for clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham, Chicarito is never seen as a regular starter and eventually gets moved on to a different team.

No one questions Hernandez's ability to score goals, he has put the ball in the back of the net at least once every 147 minutes over his entire career.

But his ability to be a part of a high-functioning attacking unit is severely limited by his lack of passing and dribbling skills - and managers seeking to integrate a specific style opt to use him as a substitute.

It appears both Van Marwijk and Postecoglou see Maclaren as a similar hinderance - because if you are picking on goals alone, then there is no doubt he should be in the squad.

If the current squad is fit, you can almost bank your money on Tomi Juric starting at centre-forward and Tim Cahill coming off the bench to cause a ruckus - a role he has earned after producing for 14 years in the green-and-gold.

This leaves only two substitutes available and in a 4-2-3-1 formation, you're probably going to want to bring on a replacement for the midfield engine room and an x-factor player to attack the tiring opposition full backs.

While there is no doubting Maclaren is stiff to miss selection, logic can be applied as to why it happened, and it makes sense why a one-dimensional player has missed the squad behind so many versatile options.

Bailey Wright (Bristol City)

The omission of the Bristol City captain from the Socceroos squad by Van Marwijk is quite simple and ruthless: he was never going to be first-choice at centre-half and he isn't versatile enough to play any other roles to the satisfaction of the coach.

Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Jurman were both taken to the Socceroos' March training camp in Oslo despite being injured and having no chance of playing the friendlies against Norway and Colombia.

This signalled their importance in Van Marwijk's World Cup scheme and it was up to Wright to earn his selection by showing the versatility to shine at right-back - a position he struggled at considerably against the Norweigans.

Bailey Wright Australia v Greece Friendly 07062016

Most of the other options selected by Van Marwijk ahead of Wright are either better players or more versatile.

Milos Degenek can play centre-half and right-back, holding midfielder Mark Milligan can also fill in at both those roles, while Van Marwijk selected right-back Fran Karacic for a reason and also explained Josh Brillante is an option down the right flank.

The emergence of Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak as a central defensive option for Aston Villa also further put a nail in Wright's Russia hopes.

It must also be mentioned he hasn't played a minute for Bristol City since being booed off by his own fans on April 2 - more than six weeks ago.

Alex Gersbach (Lens)

It's clear Aziz Behich is Australia's best left-back and barring injury, will start for the green and gold in Russia.

This means Gersbach needed to squeeze himself in as the back-up option, but a few impressive performances from Millwall left-back James Meredith won the squad spot - as Van Marwijk opts for experience in the position.

Mitchell Langerak (Nagoya Grampus)

A poorly thought out move to La Liga side Levante at the start of the European season ended Langerak's World Cup hopes in their tracks.

He only made one appearance for the Spaniards and barely featured on the bench before he made his escape to J-League club Nagoya Grampus in January.

Mitch Langerak Australia World Cup qualifying

But by then, the damage had already been done.

Danny Vukovic and Brad Jones had already played regularly for six months in European club football in the same time Langerak failed to play a league match in Spain.

Despite Langerak being given the starting gloves for Nagoya at the end of the February, he needed an injury or a miracle to make the plane to Russia.

Apostolos Giannou (AEK Larnaca)

Giannou started the Cypriot first division on fire, scoring twice and setting up three goals in his first five games for his club side AEK Larnaca.

But at the time of the squad's selection, Giannou failed to play any part of Larnaca's last three matches.

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And similarly to Maclaren, his lack of versatility and narrow role counted against him.

Aleksandar Susnjar (Mlada Boleslav)

The 22-year-old is a young, inexperienced centre-half, who has too many options ahead of him to be viable squad option.

He will likely get a chance to shine under Graham Arnold and will be a player to keep an eye on.

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