Wednesday, 6 November 2013 10:53 AM
Today I’ve named the Socceroos squad to face Costa Rica and I can understand that many fans will be asking: what will be different from the recent games against Brazil and France?
Now is not the time to talk about playing style, tactics or selections. That will come on the training ground over the eight days we have to prepare.
The things that will change immediately are the way we think and talk about the Socceroos.
First up, I will remind all the players, other coaches and staff of the pride and honour we should all feel when we represent the nation. I know that fans want to see and hear about passion.
Just as important is understanding the essential truth that the Socceroos belong to the people. It’s not my team, it’s yours. I have the privilege to be the coach, but that comes with a big responsibility to the fans.
The training camp and the match against Costa Rica will bring our first important steps towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the challenges beyond.
We’ll go forward without one of the greatest Australian players of all time, Mark Schwarzer. Mark last night told us of his decision to retire from international football.
Mark is our most capped Socceroo, has been one of our best performers over a long period of time and has always remained passionate about playing for Australia. I know the Australian football community will join me in paying tribute to Mark for everything he’s done for the Socceroos.
I’m excited by the squad we have named to face Costa Rica on November 19 at Allianz Stadium and look forward to working with the players and staff when they come into camp early next week.
The first task is to have a good look at the bulk of the players who played a significant part in qualifying Australia for the 2014 World Cup and also giving opportunities to players I think have the ability to improve the team.
I want to give every Australian player the best opportunity to stake a claim for Brazil and beyond, which means bringing them into camp while they are match fit.
This team includes some players plying their trade in Asian Leagues as the next time we get together (early March) a lot of those players will still be finding their feet as their domestic competitions are only just starting.
Conversely, the March FIFA date gives players in Europe and the Hyundai A-League the same chance to show their talents while still in season.
I will also spend time watching club matches between the Costa Rica clash and the next FIFA date in March as players are auditioning to wear the Socceroos shirt in Brazil every time they pull on their football boots, no matter what shirt they are wearing.
This all allows me to make informed decisions on the form and merits of all players before we come together for the third time next May in Australia to prepare to take on the best players on the planet at the 2014 World Cup.
I firmly believe we have the talent to represent all Australians with pride every time we pull on that Socceroos shirt and tracksuit so join us on that that journey. It starts against Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday week (November 19), makes a significant stop in Brazil but the road continues into the future and includes all Australians, not just the 11 on the pitch.