Rudan lobbies for Wanderers duo to be in Roos squad after Arnold’s decision leaves him dismayed

Western Sydney Wanderers boss Marko Rudan expressed his surprise that Calem Nieuwenhof and Lawrence Thomas were overlooked by Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold for his most recent squad.

The Socceroos face Ecuador in the first of two friendlies next Friday in Sydney, with Brandon Borrello the only Wanderers player given the call-up by Arnold.

Rudan has made a point of not buying into the discussion when his players – primarily Borrello – have been linked with national team selection.

But after the Wanderers’ 4-0 demolition of arch-rivals Sydney FC in the Isuzu UTE A-League on Saturday, he broke from tradition and claimed it wouldn’t be long until Borrello was joined by Nieuwenhof and Thomas.

MORE FOOTBALL NEWS

DERBY REACTION: 2353 days and counting – derby revenge mission that shows why the Wanderers are deep in the title race

READ: Wanderers star’s cheeky response after Sydney Derby drubbing – ‘I guess they got what they deserved in the end’

READ: ‘I told my coach, I cannot play for you…’ Layouni lays bare the passion he’s brought to Western Sydney

Nieuwenhof, who was released by Sydney over the off-season, came back to haunt his old club, orchestrating the midfield and unleashing a 25-yard screamer for his side’s third goal.

Goalkeeper Thomas pulled off some crucial saves for the Wanderers to register a league-high ninth clean sheet of the season.

“I think Calem Nieuwenhof isn’t far away, I really believe that he needs to be in the discussion,” Rudan said after masterminding the Wanderers’ biggest-ever win over Sydney FC.

“And I don’t understand why Lawrence Thomas is not in the Socceroos (squad).

“He is by far and away the best goalkeeper in the league and I mean by far and away.

“I didn’t hear from Arnie when Brandon got called up.

“So I’m not sure why we didn’t have that conversation.

But I’d like to put on record that there are more in this team that deserve to be called up as well.

Thomas and Nieuwenhof have been key pillars in Rudan’s rebuild of the Wanderers as the club nears its first finals campaign in six years.

The Wanderers sat third after Saturday’s win and only a calamitous slip-up would deny them a top-six finish.

“I’m very confident with my players, belief is very important,” Rudan said.

“We’re very demanding of each other and that’s why it’s working.

“It’s really nice when they start to see it all come together and start to believe.”