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May 20, 2022   |  3:28PM AET

The 2022 A-Leagues All Stars squad: a team dedicated to scoring

The 2022 A-Leagues All Stars squad: a team dedicated to scoring

The 30 players to take on Barcelona have been revealed, and it’s a gung-ho squad heavy on attacking talent writes Tom Smithies.

The people – and Dwight Yorke – have spoken and we’d better strap ourselves in for the ride.

The 30-man All Stars squad to face Barcelona, unveiled today, is brimful of attacking talent, so much so that it’s some declaration of intent. It’s no surprise to see the fans opting for the sort of players who get us out of our seats, but if this is Yorke’s coaching philosophy in action then Macarthur will be must-watch next season.

The A-League’s top three scorerers this season are all selected, led by Golden Boot winner Jamie Maclaren, plus the joint fourth and the fifth; feeding them will be the top assist creators in Daniel Penha and Jay O’Shea, plus several of those immediately behind on them on that roll of honour.

This is a squad with box office appeal, featuring the likes of Jason Cummings, Milos Ninkovic, Craig Goodwin, Marco Tilio, Mathew Leckie and Reno Piscopo – the sort of players fans pay to see.  

BUY TICKETS TO SEE BARCELONA HERE

In fact, almost half the squad are players of either playmaking or goalscoring ability, ranging in age from 16 to 37. There’s a kid who has played 185 minutes of professional football (and another with 239), through to veterans with World Cups and Champions League experience on their CVs.

Jamie Maclaren of Melbourne City is in the All Stars after winning the Golden Boot.

Under the formula for choosing this squad, 13 players came from a fan vote, 15 from Yorke and his Australian-based coaching panel, and two from A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke. A maximum of seven players will qualify for the Isuzu UTE A-League grand final this weekend and so be given “non-playing status” – leaving a squad of 23 or 24 for the All Stars game next week. (A small number of players, it should be noted, were unable to take their place in the squad due to personal circumstances.)

O’Rourke’s choices were Garang Kuol – the Central Coast’s 17-year-old striker and the younger brother of Alou Kuol who lit up the competition in his debut season last year before earning a transfer to Germany – and Reno Piscopo, Wellington’s Olyroo No 10. Both are the sort of dashing young talent that the A-League has increasingly showcased over the past two years.

Similarly there’s a call-up for 16-year-old Nestory Irankunda, Adelaide United’s teenage winger with a penchant for scoring spectacular goals at vital moments, and Melbourne City forward Marco Tilio, one of the faces of the A-Leagues this season – both drafted in by Yorke and his team of Australian-based coaches.

“We want to show the world how much young talent we have in the A-Leagues, and both Garang and Reno have produced some extraordinary moments this season,” said O’Rourke.

Garang Kuol has been chosen as one of the A-Leagues Commissioner’s picks.

“It’s important that as well as some of our decorated, experienced stars, we put the next generation in the spotlight – and to earn their places, both have shown fans what they can do this year.

“Last year we saw Alou Kuol take the A-League by storm, and now his brother is threatening to do the same, while Reno Piscopo is an Olyroo with great vision and ability.”

A quartet of veterans are flying the flag for experience: Macarthur centreback Adrian Mariappa, Western goalkeeper Jamie Young and Adelaide midfielder Isaias all selected on the back of influential seasons for their clubs, and Milos Ninkovic a sentimanental choice for fans who have enjoyed the skills that have earned him two Johnny Warren Medals.

Special mention should be made of Ninkovic’s Sydney teammate Rhyan Grant, the only player to be chosen for the All Stars in 2013 or 2014 and now once more in 2022 – testament to the right back’s longevity.

THE ALL STARS SQUAD

Nestory Irankunda Adelaide United (Coach Selection)

Isaías Adelaide United (Coach Selection)

Craig Goodwin Adelaide United (Fan Selection)

Scott Neville Brisbane Roar FC (Coach Selection)

James O’Shea Brisbane Roar FC (Coach Selection)

Garang Kuol Central Coast Mariners (APL Commissioner Selection)

Kye Rowles Central Coast Mariners (Coach Selection)

Jason Cummings Central Coast Mariners (Coach Selection)

Filip Kurto Macarthur FC (Coach Selection)

Adrian Mariappa Macarthur FC (Coach Selection)

Marco Tilio Melbourne City FC (Coach Selection)

Mathew Leckie Melbourne City FC (Coach Selection)

Jamie Maclaren Melbourne City FC (Fan Selection)

Curtis Good Melbourne City FC (Fan Selection)

Jake Brimmer Melbourne Victory (Coach Selection)

Roderick Miranda Melbourne Victory (Coach Selection)

Jason Davidson Melbourne Victory (Fan Selection)

Daniel Penha Newcastle Jets (Fan Selection)

Beka Mikeltadze Newcastle Jets (Fan Selection)

Callum Timmins  Perth Glory (Coach Selection)

Andrew Redmayne Sydney FC (Coach Selection)

Anthony Caceres Sydney FC (Fan Selection)

Rhyan Grant Sydney FC (Fan Selection)

Milos Ninkovic Sydney FC (Fan Selection)

Reno Piscopo Wellington Phoenix (APL Commissioner Selection)

Jack Rodwell Western Sydney Wanderers FC (Coach Selection)

Adama Traore Western Sydney Wanderers FC (Fan Selection)

Ben Garuccio Western United FC (Fan Selection)

Leo Lacroix Western United FC (Fan Selection)

Jamie Young Western United FC (Fan Selection)

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