Mile Jedinak, favourite to assume the Socceroos captaincy

Mile Jedinak, favourite to assume the Socceroos captaincy Photo: Getty Images

Anointing influential midfielder Mile Jedinak as Socceroos captain is just one piece in coach Ange Postecoglou's puzzle. And it's the easy part for Postecoglou as he ponders his 30-man preliminary squad for June's World Cup in Brazil.

Jedinak is tipped to get the nod before Tim Cahill to replace Lucas Neill as Australia's captain. But who else makes up the squad, to be announced by Postecoglou next Wednesday, is open for debate.

There are holes in defence and midfield. And uncertainty in attack. But the decision to overlook incumbent captain Neill was a no-brainer, according to former Socceroos captain John Kosmina.

''Lucas has had a great career but it can't go on forever,'' Kosmina said. ''Lucas is not the player that he was – and there's no disrespect in what I say there, because everyone's career has to come to an end. And Ange is a new coach and he's looking to revamp a squad for the future, it's as simple as that.''

Kosmina said ''all my money" was on Jedinak, captain of English Premier League outfit Crystal Palace, to lead Australia in Brazil. ''He's experienced. He has played just about every minute of every game for Crystal Palace in the EPL this year, so you can't fault him,'' said Kosmina, who captained the Socceroos in 25 of his 60 internationals. ''He's not as eloquent as Lucas might be in front of a camera but he gets the job done on the field and that is what is more important.''

Kosmina tips some surprises when Postecoglou names his initial squad, to be trimmed to 27 players a day after Australia's friendly against South Africa on May 26 in Sydney.

''I think there will be a healthy contingent of A-League players and there might be some younger blokes from overseas,'' Kosmina said. ''I really hope the guys like Trent Sainsbury and Matt Leckie, players that have gone to Europe and done OK, get a look-in. And I think they will. Ange wants to play with vibrancy, upbeat and high tempo. And that is the only way you can do it, with youth.''

Postecoglou won't budge from his rebuilding mantra, arguing it is the only way for the Socceroos to ultimately advance. But there might be short-term pain for long-term gain. His main worry is a callow defence to confront attack-minded World Cup opponents Chile, the Netherlands and defending champion Spain.

The absence of Neill and the likely snub of ageing Sasa Ognenovski leaves the defence in the hands of Matt Spiranovic (17 caps), Ivan Franjic (eight caps) and Jason Davidson (five caps).

Untimely, injury clouds hover over other prime defensive candidates in Sainsbury (knee) and Curtis Good (hip).

Mat Ryan has assumed first-choice goalkeeper status ahead of Mitch Langerak, with Adelaide United veteran Eugene Galekovic and Brad Jones, despite his horror performance for the Socceroos against Ecuador, possible understudies.

The midfield will be glued together by Jedinak and Melbourne Victory stalwart Mark Milligan, with creative spark sought from the evergreen Mark Bresciano and emerging talents Leckie, Tom Rogic, Tommy Oar, Ben Halloran and James Holland.

Australia will again rely on marksman Cahill, now 34, as its chief scoring threat, with support from 31-year-old Josh Kennedy, though a core of young A-League attackers headed by Adam Taggart, James Troisi and Tomi Juric are pressing their claims.

''They might make the 30. Whether they make the final cut remains to be seen,'' Kosmina said. ''But I know Ange is astute enough to put together a very well-balanced squad that can play the type of game he wants to play.''

Postecoglou will name his final 23-man squad in Brazil on June 2.