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Feb, 2, 2009

Locals impress Verbeek - just not enough

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek liked what he saw from the A-League stars who opened Australia's Asian Cup campaign against Indonesia last week.

It's just that he didn't like them enough.

Veteran defender Craig Moore was the only locally-based star to win a berth in Verbeek's 22-man squad to take on Japan in next week's World Cup qualifier in Yokohama, the rest made up of the plethora of players plying their trade offshore.

Australia drew 0-0 with Indonesia in Jakarta last week with a squad made up only A-League players, the game played in oppressive conditions and on a hard to handle pitch.

"I was very pleased with what I saw from some players in the Indonesia game but again Indonesia away is different than Japan away," Verbeek said.

"Yeah they did (impress), but so far they were not better than the players I have."

Despite Moore being the only local in his list of 22, which will be trimmed to 18 the day before the game, Verbeek claimed A-League players had not been snubbed, saying the A-League finals should be the focus.

"Normally I can take 24 players so it's not so difficult to take players from the A-League over there, some of them really deserve it," Verbeek said.

"But as you all know there is also the semi-finals coming up and some teams play (next) Friday (meaning) they come back on Friday morning and then play Friday night.

"I will only select A-League players I am more or less 100 per cent sure that they will be in the final 18 and at this moment I think I have enough players with experience and enough quality."

The first leg of the A-League semi-finals will be held this weekend with Central Coast to host Queensland on Friday night and Melbourne away to Adelaide on Saturday night.

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