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Oct 14, 2013

I'm not quitting, says fired-up Neill

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has dismissed suggestions he should retire, insisting he plans to lead the national team to the 2014 World Cup.

Following the Socceroos 6-0 thrashing by France, former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich said Neill was a big part of the problem and should quit.

But Neill has hit back saying retirement isn't on the agenda.

He's also called on Australian coaches to head overseas to gain more experience and has questioned the passion of the next generation of players.

"I am committed to being captain of this country for as long as the people in charge give me that status," the 35-year-old told reporters in London ahead of a friendly against Canada.

Neill wants to help the team get back on track ahead of the World Cup following the dramatic sacking of Holger Osieck.

"I feel partly responsible for making sure this team goes into that tournament in the best possible shape they can, in the best frame of mind, and hopefully with a lot of confidence," he said on Monday.

Although disappointed by Bosnich's comments, the captain says he isn't going to be drawn into tit-for-tat.

"Football is a game of opinions. He's entitled to his, (but) I expect better from people who've played the game and certainly from people that call themselves my friend," he said.

Neill argues ex-players know football matches aren't won and lost by one player and he's "a victim the same as anyone else" of Australia's collective poor form.

His previous national form during the World Cup qualifiers has been "very good", Neill says.

The defender admits he isn't getting any faster but insists he brings "good attributes" to the team including being "cuter" and tactically more shrewd.

Speaking for the first time since Osieck's dismissal, the captain argued the sacking was understandable "because we are in a business of results".

"But equally I feel a little bit for him because ... his objective was to get Australia to the World Cup and he did that," he said.

On the question of whether an Australian was now ready to take the reins, Neill suggested the answer might not be known "until they try".

But he says more Australian managers needed to head overseas for experience.

"We need coaches now to have that ambition to coach in Australia but then go and see if they can go and crack the big time in Europe just like the players did," he said.

Neill also questions the passion of the next generation of Socceroos.

"Nobody gives you an opportunity to play for Australia for nothing," he said.

"The biggest problem in Australia right now is not the older guys who have been there doing it for a long time.

"My question to the younger guys who want to play for Australia is: do you dream of playing for Australia and if you do show me the hunger and the desire.

"I think that's where we are lacking now - our attitude towards our national team."

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