Fran Karacic has represented Croatia at U21 level
Fran Karacic has represented Croatia at U21 level

Who is Socceroos World Cup bolter Fran Karacic?

AS Bert van Marwijk announced his extended Socceroos squad for the World Cup, one name stood out.

21-year-old defender Fran Karacic is undoubtedly the least known member of the 32-man squad, plying his trade in Croatia with Lokomotiva Zagreb.

In fact, a search of wire services and databases Fox Sports has access to yielded a grand total of zero images of the newest potential Socceroo!

An out and out right back known for his pace and energy, the Croatia under-21 international has been targeted as a potential fix for the Socceroos' well documented problems in the position.

Born in Zagreb, the young gun is eligible to represent Australia owing to the fact his father was born in the nation - he also holds an Aussie passport, although he's never actually been down under.

This season Karacic has scored once and assisted four goals in 23 appearances in the Croatian top flight, with his side currently sitting sixth on the ladder with three matches to play.

"The problem is we don't have a lot of choices for the right back position," Van Marwijk said as he announced the squad.

"Hes a lot of time captain of a team, hes 21, hes playing at highest level in Croatia.

Fran Karacic has been announced as a member of the Socceroos extended World Cup squad
Fran Karacic has been announced as a member of the Socceroos extended World Cup squad

Ante Milicic knows him very well, we went a few times to Croatia to see him

"I dont have a lot of choices for that position so thats why we watched Karacic"

Karacic looms as one of two uncapped players in the squad, the other being well known young gun Daniel Arzani - who has rocketed into contention after a stunning rise with Melbourne City that saw him named the A-League's young player of the year.

David Davutovic of the Herald Sunr evealed that the Croatian-born defender was a smoky for the squad in April as Lokomitiva executive director Dennis Gudasic spoke of the FFA's approach for his services.

"Fran has been approached (by FFA). It is his call, but I believe he will seriously consider it (if he gets called up). He has been in Croatia for a while, but we will support his decision,'' Gudasic told the Herald Sun.

"He'd be a worthy member of the Australian team. They looked at him before but he had to pull out due to injury.

"He has the potential to play for Croatia, but if he plays in a World Cup there is no turning back.

"The way he's developing and when you look at Fran three years ago compared to now, in a few years he will definitely be at the level to play for the Croatian national team. But Croatia is a hard team to break into."

Fran Karacic in action for Lokomotiva Zagreb
Fran Karacic in action for Lokomotiva Zagreb

Karacic will compete with established right back Josh Risdon, currently with the Western Sydney Wanderers, as well as Bailey Wright for a spot in the final 23-man squad - although the Bristol City captain would arguably rather secure a berth at centre-back.

As documented by Van Marwijk, Sydney FC midfielder Josh Brillante is another option to fill the troublesome void at full back, with the 25-year-old having previously occupied the role at international level as well as briefly during his time as a youngster with the Newcastle Jets.

"I took Brillante because maybe he can play at the right back position," the Dutchman said.

But in Karacic, the Socceroos now have themselves another out and out right back.

The 21-year-old spoke to The World Game in April, voicing his intentions to represent Australia.

"I have had an Australian passport since I was little, and I've always had in my mind that I could be performing for Australia one day."

"Just like any other football player, of course it is my dream to make an appearance at the World Cup. Personally, it means a lot to me," he added.

"If it could happen with Australia it would be huge for me. I know a lot about them and I have followed how they've gone at World Cups and also during the qualifying."

While this is a relatively swift introduction for the defender to the Aussie public, we could easily have heard of him earlier.

Karacic also pointed out that the FFA was in contact with him during Ange Postecoglou's tenure before injury ruled him out of contention.

"I was in contact with them years ago before their appearance in the Confederations Cup," Karacic said.

A name relatively unknown until now, you best get used to it being thrown around - because he's a real chance to head to Russia and take to the park in the green and gold.



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