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Oct, 13, 2009

Kennedy earmarked as Oman threat

Giant Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy has been rated as big a threat as Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell by Oman coach Claude Le Roy ahead of their Asian Cup qualifier.

Frenchman Le Roy, a well-respected figure in world football through his work with Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, says the in-form Kennedy must be kept under control if Oman are to earn something from Wednesday night's clash in Melbourne.

Several times throughout his pre-match media conference, Le Roy returned to Kennedy as he discussed how his side could best combat the Socceroos.

Kennedy has six goals in his 16 matches for Australia - and the 194cm striker is best known for his aerial prowess.

But Le Roy also rates the 27-year-old, in career-best form for Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, as an intelligent ground level footballer who presents more than just an aerial threat.

"You have few players like that - he is not only skilful in the air, he is a good football player," Le Roy said.

"When you have a player like that, it is important to give too many corners or free-kicks.

"(But) he also goes well in the space, he is complementary with Cahill and Kewell.

"We have to be clever, we have to be ready tactically."

Oman dominated and should have beaten the Graham Arnold-coached Socceroos at the 2007 Asian Cup in Bangkok, but were denied by a late Tim Cahill equaliser.

While Oman come into Wednesday's match top of Group B and the Socceroos languish at the foot with just a draw and a defeat, Le Roy is wary of Australia's new-found standing in the soccer world.

"A single fault and we have to pay cash," he said.

"We have a lot of respect for this Australian team. You are not going through such a difficult World Cup qualification games without defeat, you are not 14 in the world by chance.

"After playing The Netherlands, we hope they are a little bit tired, we hope they have a little less concentration.

"We have to respect Australia, but not too much."

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