AAP Soccer

Maclaren out, Taggart in for Socceroos

By AAP Newswire

Striker Jamie Maclaren won't play for the Socceroos in Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier against Taiwan despite his hat-trick against Nepal.

Graham Arnold has opted for Adam Taggart instead of Maclaren in the Group B clash at Kaohsiung National Stadium in one of at least three changes to his starting XI.

As well as Taggart, left-back Brad Smith will get a start, while Milos Degenek will replace Bailey Wright and partner newcomer Harry Souttar in central defence.

Arnold said Maclaren's omission was more about giving Taggart a chance than anything against the Melbourne City striker.

"You can't go through a journey of four years relying on 12 players," Arnold told AAP.

"You can see his (Maclaren's) confidence was sky high but, jeez, Adam Taggart is the leading goalscorer in South Korea and is doing great as well.

"There's competition for places and, when there's competition for places, it creates higher standards because they're pushing each other."

Taggart will hope to at least replicate his performance the last time Australia played Taiwan, when he scored a double in an 8-0 win in 2012 in Hong Kong.

Smith's inclusion ends Aziz Behich's run of 21-consecutive starts for the Socceroos, the most of any player since Alex Tobin in 1999.

It will be the 25-year-old's first competitive appearance since the World Cup playoff against Syria in 2017.

Souttar retains his place ahead of Wright after his goalscoring debut against Nepal last Thursday in Canberra.

It remains unclear if 34-year-old captain Mark Milligan will play after a full 90 minutes against Nepal, while European-based stars Mathew Leckie and Aaron Mooy are both likely to start.

Taiwan sit bottom of the group after defeats in their first two fixtures - both at home - against Jordan and Nepal, but coach Louis Lancaster has promised a contest from his unheralded team.

"Australia, the quality that they've got, they've got fantastic players - they've got a great A team, they've got a great B team," Lancaster said.

"We don't want to take away our fire. We've got a lot of speed, we're exciting, we know the crowd will get behind, we just need to be more efficient with what we do.

"We know we're going to give up a bit of possession, that's only natural, but we don't want to park the bus.

"It's not about how much possession you have, it's what you do with that possession and I've challenged the players to be more consistent, be more ruthless ourselves."

Tuesday's match kicks off at 7:40pm.