Huddersfield Town fans take note.
In their review of 2016, the Caltex Socceroos – Australia’s national football team – have picked out John Smith’s favourite Aaron Mooy for special mention.
He is cited as a developing big influence in their World Cup campaign, alongside Celtic’s Tom Rogic.
Manchester City loan ace Mooy made a brilliant start to the season, and those fans concerned his form has slipped a little recently will be relieved to know Australia don’t play again until Thursday, March 27, against Iraq.
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Mooy has helped the Socceroos to remain unbeaten in five qualification games, and they are third in Group B with all to play for on the ‘Road to Russia’.
They are equal on nine points with UAE and a point behind Japan and Saudi Arabia. But, crucially, Mooy and his mates have three home games to come next year.
The Insider website on the national team reports: “From a player perspective, the ascension of Milos Degenek (1860 Munich), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Apo Giannou (Guangzhou) and Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar) augers well for the future – all made their national team debuts in 2016.
“And the continuing development of Tom Rogic (Celtic) and Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) gives Australia cause for optimism in the attacking third, while Mark Milligan (Baniyas SC) confirmed his crucial importance to the team.”
After the match against Iraq, Australia are at home to the UAE on Tuesday, March 28 - their final fixture of this current English season.
Continuing their review, the Socceroos website says: “The year began in Adelaide with a 7-0 thumping of Tajikistan, and ended in Bangkok with a 2-2 draw against the Thais.
“In total, Australia scored 23 times and conceded 10.
“The Caltex Socceroos won five games, lost two and drew three. Seven of these ten games were World Cup qualifiers, the other three friendlies.
“Australia were unbeaten in all World Cup qualifiers. And skipper Mile Jedinak scored all four of his penalties in 2016.
“Highlights included Abu Dhabi, which was one of the most fruitful nights of the year in early September. After a long flight in from Perth via Dubai, after defeating Iraq to open Group B, facing UAE would never be easy.
“The Emiratis’ shock victory in Japan suddenly made this a group blockbuster. But in the cloying heat, the Australians put in a titanic effort with – who else? – Tim Cahill guiding home the only goal of the night after coming off the bench.”