Maclaren backs Tilio after World Cup blow

During one of the most joyous moments of his career, Jamie Maclaren was quick to console Melbourne City teammate Marco Tilio.

Maclaren was on Tuesday named in Australia's 26-man squad for the upcoming World Cup.

But the supremely talented Tilio missed the cut for Qatar in one of coach Graham Arnold's shock calls.

Maclaren knows how taxing the World Cup cycle is, having experienced his own emotional rollercoaster in 2018.

The City striker was cut from the provisional Socceroos squad for the tournament in Russia, leaving him devastated.

But Maclaren received a last-minute reprieve from coach Bert van Marwijk when Tomi Juric was ruled out with injury.

The 29-year-old has drawn on those experiences to try to help Tilio come to grips with his own situation.

"I kind of had those mixed emotion four years ago but I was dragged back in," Maclaren said on Thursday.

"I remember being in tears and feeling those things, so I can sympathise with them and really hope that they're doing OK.

"I pulled (Tilio) aside and just said, 'You have to use this as motivation'.

"I was in that position and I felt the instant (disappointment) when you get declined from the squad.

"Don't let this defeat you, don't let it define you. I'm sure Marco is the sort of player now that the inner hungry beast will come out in."

Tilio has made five appearances for the Socceroos and the crafty 21-year-old forward has long been touted as a future star.

Maclaren also paid tribute to the players who helped the Socceroos qualify for Qatar during an arduous campaign complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was forced to watch City win their first A-League grand final from hotel quarantine in 2021 after playing for the Socceroos.

When Maclaren did play in a decider for City this year, they unexpectedly lost against Victorian rivals Western United.

"It's been a taxing year, not only physically, but mentally," Maclaren said.

"It's an honour to be selected, but a huge shout out goes to those 55-odd players that missed out, because they played a big part in the journey.

"It's a childhood dream for probably every single one of us going to a World Cup, so I know they'll be hurting and rightly so."