Socceroos, World Cup 2022, news, squad, selection, A-League, Jamie Maclaren, Marco Tilio,

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Jamie Maclaren concedes it would be “everything” to have his name included in Socceroos coach Graham Arnold’s World Cup squad when it is announced next Tuesday.

But the value of one more A-League game to cement a position for himself, and potentially a couple of his Melbourne City teammates, is enough to ensure focus is not lost on what’s to come.

City coach Patrick Kisnorbo has pledged to do what he can to send his own players off to Qatar in tip-top shape, with Maclaren and Mathew Leckie both likely inclusions in the 26-man squad.

“We’re happy that we can help the country and our club by having representatives in the Socceroos,” Kisnorbo said on Friday ahead of his team’s Saturday showdown with Perth Glory.

“Whoever gets chosen (from City) for next Tuesday, we can’t control that, but we can definitely help their cause in terms of training them hard.”

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Maclaren’s A-League goalscoring record, with a league-high five goals already this season and back-to-back Golden Boot awards, has been enough for Arnold to make him something of a squad mainstay.

While he’s yet to break into Australia’s best 11, he has likely done enough to be in the 26 and should feel comfortable enough that his World Cup dream will come true next week.

“I’ve always said previously it would mean everything, but you know you only get picked due to form, fitness, health and a lot of factors that need to be ticked,” Maclaren said on Friday.

“And you know, a lot of us at Melbourne City have been playing and doing well and all you can do is control what you can control and that’s keeping your head down working hard and being in the right mindset.

“We’ve got a game tomorrow to impress again and, like I said, the squad will be named I assume after the weekend. And what will be will be.”

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Saturday’s clash with Glory is one final chance for Maclaren’s City teammate Marco Tilio to move Arnold closer towards including him too.

His cause hasn’t been helped by limited game time early in the season, but he has worked his way back into Kisnorbo’s starting 11 and Maclaren said the 21-year-old’s international exposure against Vietnam earlier this year, where he made his Socceroos debut, had shown his game could go “to another level”.

“With Marco, we‘ve seen a different character now that he realises that his game can go to another level,” Maclaren said.

“He understands his role in the team.

“Whether he‘s going to start or he’s going to come off the bench, he needs to make an impact and he’s done both.

“He creates things, he beats players one v one, wins you penalties, wins you free kicks in good areas, so he’s dangerous.

“He can play on either side or in the number 10 role which he has done in the past last season. So good kid, he needs to work a little bit harder but he’s a fantastic talent.

“When he does come on the field, he’s such an exciting player who we love playing with.

He’ a quality player and he’ll only get better as he gets older.”

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