Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos future threatens World Cup preparations, Graham Arnold backs coach

Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos future threatens World Cup preparations, Graham Arnold backs coach

Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos future threatens World Cup preparations, Graham Arnold backs coach

Updated 12 October 2017, 9:05 AEDT

The uncertainty over Ange Postecoglou's future is threatening to derail the Socceroos' World Cup qualifying campaign, as Aaron Mooy backtracks on comments made after the win over Syria.

The uncertainty over Ange Postecoglou's future is threatening to derail the Socceroos' World Cup qualifying campaign, as Australia gears up for a last play-off against Honduras.

Explosive reports yesterday claimed Ange Postecoglou would resign after November's intercontinental play-off against Honduras, even if Australia won the two-legged clash and qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

In a statement, the FFA and Postecoglou did not definitely rule out a move following the Honduras tie, with Postecoglou saying his "sole focus [was] on preparing the team for our final two qualifying matches".

Pressure on Postecoglou has been building steadily after a string of mediocre results and a formational shift midway through the team's qualifying campaign.

Tensions were clear before the 2-1 win over Syria in Sydney when star playmaker Aaron Mooy was named on the bench, only for Postecoglou to bring him on inside 10 minutes of the match when 1-0 down following Brad Smith's injury.

The Asian Cup-winning mentor's departure would leave an enticing World Cup coaching spot free should Australia make it past Honduras, their confirmed opponent from CONCACAF.

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold and Melbourne Victory counterpart Kevin Muscat are the local frontrunners.

However, Arnold said last night it was "not real" until Postecoglou himself confirmed he was leaving and had not even considered the prospect of taking over.

"I haven't read anything or seen anything where Ange has come out and said that [he's leaving]," Arnold said after his side's 5-1 FFA Cup semi-final win over South Melbourne.

"So at the moment, I think it's not innuendo, but it's not real.

"I'm a true supporter of Ange. I think he's done a fantastic job. They will qualify — I truly believe they will qualify.

"As a country and as journalists and as football supporters, we need to get behind them and support them the whole way because we need them to qualify for the good of the game."

Overseas candidates already linked to the job include Iran coach Carlos Queiroz and Italian Gianni De Biasi, who has confirmed the FFA had approached him about taking over at the end of Postecoglou's tenure.

In the shorter term, the uncertainty is a huge distraction for the Socceroos ahead of their clash with Honduras.

Former Socceroos winger Robbie Slater, who last month called for Postecoglou's head, felt it would be too risky to change bosses at this late stage.

"I would probably say we're just too far down the track now," Slater told Fox Sports.

Tuesday's 2-1 win over Syria was Postecoglou's 47th match in charge, the second-most behind only Frank Farina, who enjoyed a 58-match reign as Socceroos coach.

Mooy back-tracks over post-match comments

Meanwhile, Socceroos fulcrum Mooy has moved to shut down suggestions of a rift with Postecoglou after he was dropped for the win over Syria.

The usually shy and reserved Mooy used social media last night to head off any talk about his omission from the starting line-up in Sydney.

The 27-year-old said after the match he was "angry" at being left out by Postecoglou, who is said to have broken the news to Mooy at training by saying to him bluntly, "You're not playing."

An early injury to wingback Smith, however, meant Mooy ended up playing 110 minutes against Syria, and he had a key hand in the victory.

The Huddersfield Town midfielder tweeted that his post-match comments were "taken out of context" and not intended to be controversial.

Hard to imagine Ange leaving, Ryan says

Socceroos goalkeeper Mathew Ryan said he finds it hard to imagine Postecoglou will want to walk away as coach if the team qualifies for the 2018 World Cup.

Ryan said Postecoglou gave no hint to his players he was about to quit after beating Syria.

"He told the team how proud he was of us. He joked that we were killing him by doing things the hard way," Ryan wrote on the PlayersVoice website.

"He seemed a little more relieved than usual, but I think that was because the game was such a nailbiter.

"When the report dropped … it caught me by surprise."

There is no clear indication of what is driving Postecoglou to resign now, having sold his recent controversial change of formation on the basis that it would make Australia a better team in Russia.

Some reports suggest Postecoglou has tired of media criticism of his style and approach, while others say his decision is due to conflict with FFA executives, including chief executive David Gallop.

Ryan said he had full faith in Postecoglou despite what he said were unfair attacks.

"I'm still thinking he's going to be there. If Ange or David Gallop tell the players something different, then I'll know but, otherwise, I don't think we can start thinking about 'what's next?'," he said.

"I find it hard to imagine that if we get through to next year's World Cup, someone in his position would want to leave the team knowing we've qualified.

"I've always loved Ange's approach, the way he doesn't see Australia as an underdog and how he asks the question, 'Why can't Australia do great things in the football world?'.

"I agree with him. That's how you've got to be."

AAP/ABC