Robbie Slater slams Fran Karacic's Socceroos World Cup selection as 'smacking of desperation'

The young full back has never set foot in Australia and Robbie Slater is not happy about it

Commentator Robbie Slater has labelled the surprise Australian World Cup selection of Croatian-born defender Fran Karacic as 'smacking of desperation'.

The 21-year-old right-back was named among the Socceroos 32-man preliminary squad for Russia by Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk.

Karacic, who is captain of his Croatian side NK Lokomotiva, is eligible to represent Australia because his father was born in Sydney - but the player has never actually set foot Down Under.

With Western Sydney Wanderers defender Josh Risdon the only natural right back named in the squad, Van Marwijk said he opted to select Karacic because of the 'lack of options' in the position.

However, Slater feels as if a home-grown defender should have been selected, claiming the decision to pick Karacic was desperate.
"We haven't got a lot of [home-grown] right backs? Mate [Van Marwijk), go and find one," Slater told Big Sports Breakfast.

"Where are we going to go to next? Are we going to go to New Zealand? Or South America? Just pick up people willy-nilly?

"This is nothing against [Karacic] - I'm sure he is a fine player - but it smacks of desperation.

Fran Karacic Australia

"It's not the way I would like it to go. There is a lot of kids who pay a lot of money to develop themselves and become footballers in this country.

"There is young right full-backs who have grown up here in the system and I'd rather see someone like that given a go to be brutally honest."

Van Marwijk will cut the Australian squad to 26 players on May 14, which will be the group he takes to Turkey for their pre-World Cup training camp.

The final 23 for Russia will be selected after the Socceroos play friendlies against Czech Republic (June 1) and Hungary (June 9).

Australia has been drawn into World Cup group C alongside France, Denmark and Peru - with their first match against Les Bleus in Kazan on June 16.