The race to be Socceroos right-back

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Who can wrap up the spot before the Asian Cup in January?

Josh Risdon might be a certain starter at right-back for the Socceroos on Saturday against Korea Republic, but there's a number of players waiting in the wings should he fail to impress.

The Western Sydney Wanderers defender performed solidly in Russia at the World Cup but is yet to truly tie down the position. 

With one eye on moving abroad at the end of the season, Risdon's club form has been patchy - struggling against Sydney FC in the derby before putting in a strong 90 minutes last weekend.

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As Risdon stumbles, fellow A-League right-backs Rhyan Grant and Thomas Deng, who have been included in the Socceroos squad as train-on players, have taken giant leaps forward in their pursuit of a Socceroos jersey.

Grant has come back better than ever after an ACL injury and has already picked up two assists this season, while Deng earned his international debut last month having stepped up significantly at Melbourne Victory. 

New Socceroos coach Graham Arnold admits right-back is a position is one he wants to see improvement in with three players all pushing for selection there. 

“Right full-back is obviously an area on the field that we need to strengthen," Arnold said on Wednesday.

“At the moment Joshua Risdon is a specialist and Grant and Thomas Deng, who did well for us in Kuwait, are players that we can look at as well."

While Deng did see some action as a substitute against Kuwait, Grant looms as a strong candidate to battle Risdon for the spot considering the years he spent playing under Arnold at Sydney FC.

Milos Degenek could also be added to the right-back race having played there briefly for the Socceroos before the World Cup, even though he is deployed as a centre-back at club level.

The right-footed defender has been in fine form for Red Star Belgrade and was a key figure in their recent upset of Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

Whether Degenek is in this race remains to be seen, but there's no question the right-back position is up for grabs ahead of the Asian Cup in January. 

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