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Socceroos yet to find right-back

Socceroo Mark Milligan's hopes of a European fling to finish his career are all but over.
Socceroos yet to find right-back
Photo Source: AAP

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It's the job vacancy the Socceroos just can't fill.

Everywhere else on the pitch, Australian coach Ange Postecoglou is developing consistency and fluency, except at right-back.

Five Socceroos have tried out in the role in Australia's last six matches - Josh Risdon, James Meredith, Ryan McGowan, Milos Degenek and now Mark Milligan.

Tarek Elrich and Jason Geria have also had their turn in the last 12 months.

Two disclaimers; Degenek missed this squad because of a knee injury suffered for his club 1860 Munich.

Risdon was denied the chance to add to his three straight World Cup qualifying appearances given Postecoglou's policy of not selecting A-League players out of season.

But the fact Postecoglou turned to Milligan - best known as a central midfielder and occasional central defender - suggests the coach is still looking for answers in the role.

He said his selections were based partially on performances and partially on picking the right player for each job.

"There's an opportunity there for somebody to grab that position, and no-one has," he said.

"We lost Milos with this one, and I didn't think it was the right time with the kind of games we had to pick A-League players.

"Millsy did okay. I'm asking him to do some pretty varied jobs at the highest international level and he's always willing to do it for the team.

"It's not the ideal solution for us in the way we want to play but at times we're going to have to be flexible."

Milligan admitted he was surprised to be asked to play there.

"It's probably the first time I have started there since I was 20," the 31-year-old said.

"It's a bit different starting in a position than filling in for 15 or 20 minutes during the match.

"With the ball I am okay.

"Positioning defensively was a little bit different. All I can do is what is asked of me to the best of my ability."

Of the seven players to hold the role in the last year, only McGowan is in the current squad.

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