Millwall could lose defender in January

JAMES Meredith has not been called up for Australia’s training camp next month – but could still be part of the Socceroos squad for the 2019 Asian Cup.

That would be bad news for Millwall. The competition runs from next January 5 to February 1 and if Australia make the final he will miss games against Blackburn, Middlesbrough, Derby and Rotherham.

That’s not even taking into consideration he would join up with the squad at least a week before the tournament starts, and there will also be an FA Cup game in that period.

Meredith, 30, took a call from new Socceroos boss Graham Arnold on Monday morning, to be told he wouldn’t be involved in the next squad.

Arnold, who took over from Bert van Mar van Marwijk after this summer’s World Cup, wants to look at some of Australia’s younger players in September in Turkey.

Meredith was part of Australia’s World Cup squad in Russia, though he didn’t play, and has started this season in excellent form for his club. If he maintains that form it is hard to see how Arnold could leave him out of his squad for their next international tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

“I still think I’m the best left-back in Australia,” Meredith told NewsAtDen this week. “Australia have got a new manager now and I was actually talking to him on the phone [Monday].

“I’m not in the next camp which is in September. He’s going with some younger lads.

“He called up and was honest with me and explained his thoughts and how he wanted to move forward.  I really respected that phone call and I like him as a manager, so hopefully I’ll be part of another camp with him and get to show him what I can do.”

If Meredith is with Australia at the beginning of next year, Millwall will be without a player who has been a regular in defence since his move from Bradford in 2017 and a favourite with the fans for his aggressive style.

Shane Ferguson can play left-back, and Murray Wallace is also an option there, but Meredith’s involvement in the Asian Cup would likely mean a dip into the transfer market in that position.

Millwall signed Harry Toffolo last January to provide left-back cover.

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly