Okon needs soccer: Farina - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Okon needs soccer: Farina

By Glenn Cullen 06/08/2003 07:10:59 PM Comments (0)

Socceroo coach Frank Farina has intimated a move away from Leeds United may be the only way Australian captain Paul Okon can prolong his international career.

An 18-man Australiansquad to take on Ireland on August 19 will be announced Thursday, and there is little doubt the former Seriee A midfielder will be captain.

But with the 31-year-old on the outer with Leeds and few clubs seeking his services, he may struggle continuing to meet Farina's criteria for Socceroo selection: playing regular football.

"I've always maintained that I pick players who are playing. Paul obviously wants to play and if he is not going to be playing at Leeds United he's got to look at moving. It's as simple as that," Farina said.

"If Paul is not playing he'll obviously be struggling (to make the Australian side) but like everybody else he doesn't want to be sitting around doing nothing."

Okon is still on Leeds' books but is not expected to be considered for the first choice team this season.

He played in a Leeds' reserve game against second division Chesterfield on the weekend.

Meanwhile the Socceroos go into the match at Lansdowne Road having dipped 13 places in FIFA's July world rankings- from 50 to 63.

The drop was the biggest of any team in the world over the past month - not that it concerned Farina much.

"The rankings aren't really indicative of where you are at because you can't go up the rankings or improve your rankings if you don't play," he said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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