Nikita Rukavytsya has been called up for the playoffs with Syria.
Nikita Rukavytsya has been called up for the playoffs with Syria. Chris Hyde

Rukavytsya comes in from the wilderness for playoffs

ANGE Postecoglou has turned to a player that he has never called up in his four-year tenure as his potential x-factor for October's World Cup playoffs.

Nikita Rukavytsya's international career looked all but over, but the Israeli-based striker has been handed a lifeline for the two-legged Asian playoffs against Syria.

The lightning quick left footer, whose last Socceroos call up was for the disastrous 6-0 loss in France in October 2013 that led to Holger Osieck's sacking, now looms as a key player for the October 5 and 10 ties.

Plucked from obscurity, Rukavytsya and Tim Cahill will most likely be Postecoglou's impact options in the event that the Socceroos are chasing the game and desperate for a goal.

Rukavytsya, 30, has established himself as one of the top strikers in Israel's top flight with Maccabi Haifa and Postecoglou said the former Perth Glory and Western Sydney striker gives him variation.

"He's a different type of forward we can bring in and he adds something a bit different to what we've got," Postecoglou said.

"He's quick, can score goals, technically he's very good and he's got experience. He looks settled, the thing with Nikita is there is no doubt he had talent early in his career but he moved around a bit.

"He's always been around the fringes and always been one I've had in the back of my mind to bring in and have a look at."

Tomi Juric, who scored a brace in Switzerland last week, has nailed down the no.1 striker's position but thereafter Postecoglou has failed to find a permanent back up beyond Cahill.

Injuries have thwarted 2014 World Cup striker Adam Taggart while Darmstadt's Jamie Maclaren has failed to score in his limited opportunities, with Postecoglou saying that he will benefit from staying with his German club.

Postecoglou hinted strongly that he will persist with the back three, so there will be little change to the first XI, with the biggest question whether Mark Milligan will play in midfield or defence.

Otherwise there will be a huge reliance on in-form players Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse, who's scored three goals in three games for German second tier Bochum,

Subs can change games, with harry Kewell turning the tide in the 2005 playoff against Uruguay and Josh Kennedy coming to score and secure a 2014 World Cup berth four years ago.

Rukavytsya, who has scored one goal in 13 internationals, could go from zero to hero and become a Socceroos fairytale story.

News Corp Australia

Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Love is all you need for Bruns photo comp

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

Strap yourself in fellow dreamers

Local Partners