Australia's World Cup bolter Fran Karacic could be solution to right-back problem
A young man who's never even been to Australia could help solve the country's World Cup right-back conundrum.
Croatia-based 21-year-old Fran Karacic was the bolter in Bert van Marwijk's 32-man provisional Socceroos squad named for next month's showpiece tournament in Russia.
The NK Lokomotiva defender has been on the Socceroos' radar for months while playing under the close watch of Zagreb-based assistant coach Ante Milicic.
Having already played for Croatia's national under-21 side but not yet capped by the senior team, Van Marwijk decided to swoop.
"He also has an Australian passport and its possible for us to nominate him," van Marwijk said.
"We don't have a lot of choices for the right-back position.
"Sometimes you have not many goalkeepers, it has to do with generations.
"Now, here, what I saw until now is that we don't have a lot of right-back defenders and he is one of them."
Karacic has an Australian passport through his father who was born here, while his grandfather spent most of his adult life Down Under.
At 185cm tall, he can also play other defensive positions along with right midfield but is viewed by the Australian camp as a solution for the problem right full-back position.
"A lot of time he is captain of his team despite being 21, and playing in the highest level in Croatia," van Marwijk said.
"The first information came from Ante Milicic. Because of the information of Ante, Roel Coumans, one of my assistants was twice in Croatia to watch him.
"Everybody knows that the right defending position, I don't have a lot of choices.
"That's why we watched Karacic, and he's now on the list again."
A revolving door of right-backs was tested throughout Ange Postecoglou's tenure, with Josh Risdon and Milos Degenek often preferred during the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Ryan McGowan and Bailey Wright have also been deployed there while Mark Milligan has stood-in when needed.
Interestingly, Van Marwijk named Josh Brillante as part of his defence despite him playing in Sydney FC's midfield consistently over the past two seasons.
He suggested the 25-year-old, who has stiff midfield competition and has previously played for both club and country at right-back, was another option.
"I also took Brillante because maybe he can play in right-back position," he said.
"It's a position that we discussed a lot about that."