Schwarzer's rivals stay at arm's length
At an age when he should be pushed aside by his younger rivals, Mark Schwarzer has tightened his grip as Australia's No.1 goalkeeper.
The Socceroos great celebrated his 40th birthday this month in the knowledge that Australia's next best shot-stoppers have failed to put a glove on him.
Reading's Adam Federici has slid out of view following a disastrous start to the English Premier League (EPL) season while Mitchell Langerak and Brad Jones remain content to play second fiddle at club level.
As for Nathan Coe, he is looking for a club.
Schwarzer quipped that he was a "very selfish person" and wasn't concerned about the lack of pressure coming from his compatriots.
But the lack of players turning out regularly at club level in Europe, does bother him.
"It has been going on for a number of years now," he said.
"It is not a new sort of epidemic, it has been a concern for a number of years now."
Langerak, 24, is viewed by many as Schwarzer's long-term successor.
The former Melbourne Victory player is in his third season at German champions Borussia Dortmund with Roman Weidenfeller firmly entrenched as No.1.
Langerak is contracted until the end of 2016 while 30-year-old Jones is behind Pepe Reina at Liverpool.
"He (Langerak) is a very talented boy and he has improved a lot since he first came to Germany," Schwarzer said.
But for Schwarzer, No.2 is still No.2. No matter the age.
"I think just because one is 24 and one is 30 does not make a difference really in a lot of ways," he said.
"I started playing regular football in Europe when I was 24."
Schwarzer said players should not be afraid to step outside their comfort zone to earn regular minutes.
"Sometimes you have to take a sidewards step, sometimes you have to take a backwards step in your career to get playing football," he said.
"Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.
"There is no shame in it for any other player, dropping down a level or to a smaller club to further your career."
Schwarzer is out of contract at Fulham next year and will need another 12-month deal to see him through to a potential third World Cup in 2014.
"I'm doing the best job in the world, so why do I want to stop?," he said.
He is keen on remaining in the EPL and it is not up to him to find his replacement in the national team.
"It is what it is, I can't change what anyone else is doing," he said.