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Nov 7, 2013

Greats applaud Ange's first Socceroos step

Ange Postecoglou has laid a table of opportunity. Now, the new Socceroos coach must find out who is hungry enough, former national captain John Kosmina says.

"The table has been set for everyone to feast at ... but some people might eat a bit more than others," Kosmina told AAP on Thursday.

Kosmina and another ex-Socceroos captain, Paul Wade, said Postecoglou took a sound first step as national coach with his 22-man squad for the November 19 friendly against Costa Rica.

Wade believed Lucas Neill must keep the captaincy for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

"He's that steadying influence - it's so nerve-wracking, they'll need someone like that," Wade told AAP.

"And if Ange Postecoglou wants to so-call park the bus, which means you get a lot of players behind the ball, then Lucas won't need to run as far or as fast.

"He has got that ability to organise people. If he can just keep them together and working as one, he is going to be invaluable."

Kosmina wasn't so certain.

But the retirement of veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, and the shunning of experienced defenders Luke Wilkshire and Sasa Ognenovski, could be a sign that Neill has a future.

"It's a definite possibility," Kosmina said.

"Dropping your captain is not an easy decision so maybe he'll have a look at how things go. But there is no guarantee that Lucas will start."

Wade and Kosmina agreed fixing a leaky defence was Postecoglou's immediate challenge.

"We have just lost Mark Schwarzer," Wade said.

"And everyone is having a go at Lucas Neill for being too slow. And we conceded 12 goals in two games. And we're losing our most experienced defenders.

"So I hope Ange Postecoglou is picking the right people because at the moment that is the problem he has got to fix."

Wade and Kosmina both said Postecoglou would release the shackles on the Socceroos.

"Sometimes you have just got to go out and play with a bit of flair and play with a smile on your face," Kosmina said.

"For the last couple of years the Socceroos, the pattern of play, has been verging on comatose."

Wade concurred, adding Postecoglou would offer hope regardless of the result against Costa Rica.

"It will cement the fact that at least we're heading in the right direction," Wade said.

"There will be a lot of young players out there and people will think `it's about time' and I feel happier and more confident going into the World Cup with that sort of philosophy."

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