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Nov 17, 2013

Lucas Neill retains Socceroos captaincy

Lucas Neill has retained the captaincy of the Socceroos for Tuesday's friendly international against Costa Rica in Sydney.

New coach Ange Postecoglou confirmed on Monday that Neill would be his skipper at Allianz Stadium despite widespread speculation he could introduce Tim Cahill as captain to start his new era.

The conjecture followed criticism of Neill's personal performances in defence in recent matches which included 6-0 losses to Brazil and France last month.

Postecoglou was giving no guarantees that 35-year-old Neill would remain captain through to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year, saying everyone was always on trial.

His decision means Neill will break the record he shares with Peter Wilson for most appearances as Socceroos skipper when he leads the team out for the 61st time on Tuesday night.

Neill, a veteran of 95 internationals, had rejected calls to quit the captaincy as Postecoglou seeks to regenerate the Socceroos.

Neill said the team was determined to make a statement in the first outing under their new mentor.

"We have to start the Ange Postecoglou era in a very positive manner," said Neill.

The skipper said Postecoglou had emphasised the demand for pride in the Australian shirt and the fact that all players were always on trial for their positions.

While he did not want to give too much about away about Postecoglou's tactics, Neill did indicate there was an emphasis on "good, fast, passing football".

Postecoglou said Neill was not guaranteed the captaincy beyond Tuesday night's match.

"They are all one-offs," said Postecoglou. "I mean, who is guaranteed of being around next time in any position?"

Postecoglou said he would not be influenced by the media in his decision-making.

"I work in the land of public opinion but I am certainly not going to be governed by it as to what is important and what is not. I know what I will be judged on in the end."

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