Australia’s shortest footballer defies his stature to earn Socceroos callup following massive A-League season

  • Central Coast star is shortest football in any code 
  • Has been carving up the A-League this season 
  • Rewarded with dream Socceroos call-up 

Big things can come in small packages, as diminutive Aussie midfielder Josh Nisbet has proven after getting his maiden Socceroos callup by coach Graham Arnold.

Standing at just 160cm — just under 5′2″ — Nisbet is easily the shortest footballer in Australia, across any code. 

Now, after a childhood spent tortured by other kids who would call him midget and dwarf, Nisbet has defied everyone who said he was too small to make it.

The electric Central Coast Mariners star has been called into the Socceroos squad for the upcoming two FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon after bashing down the door in the domestic A-League.

The 24-year-old midfielder, arguably the form player of the A-League, replaces his former Mariners teammate Lewis Miller.

Right-back Miller suffered a hamstring injury while playing on Thursday morning for his Scottish club Hibernian.

Nisbet leads the A-League in assists and has found the back of the net in two recent wins

The uncapped Nisbet was considered an unlucky omission from the original 25-man squad announced on Thursday by Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.

But after topping the A-League assists chart with seven, and scoring in back-to-back league games this month with strikes against Newcastle Jets and Macarthur, his form was too much for national coach Graham Arnold to ignore.

“The kid has been doing fantastic.” Arnold said of Nisbet.

Australia hosts Lebanon on Thursday night at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium, before the teams meet again on Tuesday week in Canberra.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold likes what he has seen from Nisbet, despite his height

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold likes what he has seen from Nisbet, despite his height

Nisbet will switch to Melbourne City next season, the side he helped dismantle in last season’s A-League grand final.

Nisbet, who was off contract at the end of this season, had been questioned over his diminutive stature but has proven his detractors wrong with PFA player of the month award two times in a row and now his call-up to Arnold’s Socceroos squad. 

He has also helped the Mariners to a record Inter-Zonal Final against FK Abdish-Ata Kant in the AFC Cup. 

The Socceroos top Group I of the Asian Football Confederation’s second round of qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup with six points from two matches.

Lebanon is in second spot, four points adrift of the Australians in a group that also includes Palestine and Bangladesh, who each have one point.

The top two nations from each of the nine groups will progress to the third round of qualifiers. where the 18 teams will be split into three groups of six.

Socceroos squad: Nathaniel Atkinson, Keanu Baccus, Brandon Borrello, Jordy Bos, Cameron Burgess. Thomas Deng, Mitchell Duke, Bruno Fornaroli, Joe Gauci, Thomas Glover, Craig Goodwin, Ajdin Hrustic, John Iredale, Jackson Irvine, Gethin Jones, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Josh Nisbet, Kye Rowles, Mathew Ryan, Sam Silvera, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart, Patrick Yazbek, Kusini Yengi.

A-LeagueAustralia Football