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Socceroos coach banking on Coyne

As Chris Coyne barked out commands at training, ordering millions of dollars worth of Socceroos around just days after being called up to the squad, coach Pim Verbeek knew he had found what he was looking for.

Coyne has only played 65 minutes of football for his country - making his debut in Australia's 1-0 World Cup qualifier loss to Iraq in Dubai last weekend.

But in the tough 29-year-old defender, fired in the furnace of England's lower leagues and a stint in Scotland, Australia may have found the new Craig Moore.

"He's an experienced player, he knows what he's doing and he's made a good impression on us," Verbeek said.

"He's a leader. He's a very good header, he's never in panic."

With the international retirement of long-time defensive rock Moore, the Socceroos had a serious gap to plug going into a tough Asian qualifying campaign.

Coyne was added to the squad sight unseen by Verbeek prior to the Ghana friendly in Sydney last month - effectively to satisfy the Dutchman's curiosity after an earlier attempt to scout him didn't work out because of injury.

The Colchester United defender impressed enough to make that squad, then the Iraq game in Brisbane, before earning his first international cap in Dubai.

There have been few more assured Socceroos debuts - Coyne organising his backline well and only being substituted as Australia chased the game.

More action is likely against Qatar in Doha on Saturday (Sunday AEST).

Long-term, Coyne may well prove the find of this tour. But he is not falling upwards by accident.

Overnight success has been 10 years in the making, grafting away in Britain's lower echelons, hoping a chance to crack the national team would come after being a junior international at all levels.

A road tougher than most has made him no-nonsense and a man who tells it like it is - something that has impressed all from Verbeek and his teammates down to the onlookers at training in the Middle East.

"Coyney's a very confident lad, he's a very solid player," goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said.

"He's brought in that experience, he's calm under pressure and we knew he'd add to the defensive line of the team and really make sure it's nice and solid."

Jade North, who lined up alongside Coyne against Iraq, agrees.

"He's a good leader and he doesn't stop talking on and off the field," North said.

"He's great for us and showed a lot of experience out there against Iraq and that's what we need for the upcoming games."

Coyne has waited a long time for the chance and is undaunted by being a player from the third-tier of English football alongside Serie A and English Premier League talent.

"I'm old enough and wise enough to know the game. I've had four or five decent managers who've brought me through and taught me the game and I was pleased with how I went against Iraq.

"The players are not different to anyone else.

"There are 11 players on the football field. It's still a game of football, two goals and a round thing in the middle."


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