TIPS FOR RUSSIA 2018
What’s your advice for the class of 2018?
Many will have had the experience of Brazil. You can’t buy that experience in those high-pressure games – although this group did it the hard way in qualification as well. They’ve had cut-throat games where they had to win against Honduras, and that’s the sort of atmosphere and pressure they’re going to be under. But basically, just enjoy it and embrace it. Don’t get wrapped up in the emotion of it – treat it like any other game and enjoy the experience, because you don’t know if you’re ever going to get another chance to not only play at a World Cup, but play for Australia. Things can always change at any time. There’s pressure and expectation but if you can enjoy the experience, it really adds to it. If you’re enjoying your football, you’re playing at your best anyway.
Who’s your favourite current Socceroo?
I really admire Mile Jedinak for what he’s done in the game. We were together at Central Coast when he first came back from Croatia and was looking for a contract. I remember him driving up from Sydney every day to train with us. Just the way he stuck to his guns and believed in himself, it’s great for me personally to sit back and watch him for what he’s achieved in the
game and to now be captaining the team. It’s good to see him still kicking on and doing so well.
Who’s the biggest dangerman they’ll face in Group C?
France have got a whole squad of them. Denmark have got Christian Eriksen, he’s a first-class player and is great to watch. He can assist from anywhere on the field and also finish very well from outside the box. It’s the World Cup – there’s not going to be any team that doesn’t have good players. I don’t think they’ll be focusing too much on individuals. If you do that it can bring you undone.
Who will be the star of this World Cup?
Australia-wise, a key player will be Trent Sainsbury. He’s got a lot of caps and experience under his belt now. He’s great on the ball and his passing is very important for the way we like to play. Out of all the other teams I’m not sure, but out of Australia, he’s a really important part of our squad.
What’s your prediction for the Socceroos?
We’ve got a really good chance. I don’t think people should get carried away and say it’s a fantastic group, there’s still a lot of quality there. But it gives us every chance to qualify if we are good enough. The boys will go in pretty confident that they can get some results and get through.
Who will win it all?
It’s tough. Brazil are flying at the moment. They’re doing really well. They qualified very easily, they’ll be a very good chance. And Germany are always good in big tournaments. It’ll probably be out of those two, just for a change.