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Nov 5, 2013

No guarantee for Lucas Neill: Postecoglou

New Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou won't guarantee Lucas Neill will continue as captain but he has thrown a lifeline to a raft of ageing castaways.

Neill escaped the axe as Postecoglou cut an elder core, including Luke Wilkshire and Brett Holman, from his first squad as Socceroos coach.

Postecoglou's 22-man squad for the November 19 friendly against Costa Rica contains Neill, but his tenure as captain is unstable.

"It's a new direction and a new start ... we'll pick a side for Costa Rica and pick a captain as well," Postecoglou told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer surprised Postecoglou by quitting international football just hours before the squad's announcement.

Schwarzer, 41, declined his selection in the squad and ended his decorated international career as the most capped Socceroo, with 109 internationals.

Postecoglou, whose squad contains 15 players with 25 or less internationals, said the captaincy was "interesting one".

"My main focus is the team right now. I want them playing a certain style of football and creating a really strong foundation to have a good World Cup," he said.

"The individuals within that are less important to me right now than the collective.

"And even the captaincy, I look at this list and there are some good leaders in there," he said, citing Neill, Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan.

"I have never seen the captaincy as something that is crucial to what I build.

"To me, it's more about the team. The captaincy is symbolic of that team and I'd be looking for leadership from a number of players in this squad and hopefully that alleviates that intense focus on one individual moving forward."

Postecoglou overlooked Wilkshire, 32, Holman, 29, Sasa Ognenovski, 34, and David Carney, 29, but denied their international careers were over.

"The players who have missed out on this squad haven't had a line put through them," Postecoglou said.

"The opportunities will be there for anyone whose form particularly warrants it."

Postecoglou's squad contained an A-League flavour with Ivan Franjic, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan and Michael Zullo selected from domestic ranks.

The squad will start gathering in Sydney next Monday for a week-long training camp ahead of the Costa Rica friendly in the NSW capital.

And the new coach said he would approach the camp with an open mind after recent turbulence culminated in the sacking of Holger Osieck as coach after consecutive 6-0 away defeats to Brazil and France.

"What has happened in the past, that is for other people to deal with," Postecoglou said.

Socceroos squad: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, James Holland, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Matthew Leckie, Ryan McGowan, Matthew McKay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Mat Ryan, Dario Vidosic, Rhys Williams, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo.

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