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Blog - Five Aside

Socceroos coach wants change from FFA

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck took a thinly veiled swipe at his employer and wanted Australia to show more respect for the international football calendar, after being irked by the availability debate over superstars Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton.

Osieck on Tuesday opted to leave Melbourne Victory signing Kewell and Sydney FC recruit Emerton out of his entirely overseas-based 19-man squad for the October 7 friendly against Malaysia in Canberra and the World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney four days later.

Barring injuries, that left the way open for Kewell and Emerton to line up against each other in the October 8 A-League opening round blockbuster between their teams at Etihad Stadium.

Osieck said he had taken the sting out of the situation by not selecting them for technical reasons.

He pointed out both men were short of recent competitive match play and he wanted to ease the pressure on each by allowing them to settle into their new environment.

The normally affable coach displayed tinges of irritation as he answered questions about the debate over the two Socceroo stalwarts.

Osieck was clearly annoyed Football Federation Australia didn't follow the almost unanimous position taken by the world's major leagues, who invariably don't schedule any games around the sanctioned international dates on the FIFA calendar.

"It's obviously unique in the world, that a domestic federation doesn't accept it, wants change, that it doesn't happen," Osieck told reporters.

"Why does the international confederation set up a general structure to protect clubs plus the national teams and they don't get respected?

"That is the thing that can never happen because you devalue your league by that.

"Be it Spain, be it Italy, all the big leagues in the world they know it and they respect it and they make their schedule around these dates, then they have to do it here as well, which is very easy."

He ruled out calling up Emerton or Kewell into the squad if there were any injuries.

"I don't consider a camp like a shop with a revolving door, that everybody can come in and out whenever he wants. It's a closed affair and I'm very strict and very adamant in how things go," Osieck said.

He felt he had a minimum of three options, including Brett Holman or Robbie Kruse, who could fill Emerton's position, even though he regarded the Sydney FC star as a "unique individual".

"In this case he's not there and I always keep saying 'you can only dance with the girls who are in the room' and in this case I have to dance without Emmo," Osieck said.

The three extra substitutions for the Malaysia friendly will give him more options, but Osieck said he would be experimenting more with tactics than players.

He said Japan-based striker Alex Brosque, who came off the bench to score the winner in the World Cup qualifier against Thailand, was due a full game.

Osieck expected midfielder Tim Cahill would be fit for the upcoming games despite suffering a shin injury while playing for Everton last weekend.

He insisted it would be wrong and stupid for people to assume that because Cahill started the last game against Saudi Arabia on the bench for tactical reasons that the midfielder was now a fringe player.

"Tim is one of our cornerstones of the team with his experience and of course we should never underrate his psychological affect on the opponent," Osieck said.

Squad: Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Adam Federici, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse, Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Adam Sarota, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, James Troisi, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.


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