Beauchamp back as Mariners face Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beauchamp back as Mariners face Reds

By Philip Henderson 25/02/2006 06:33:37 PM Comments (0)

New Socceroos star Michael Beauchamp has arrived in Adelaide, still weary after his whirlwind trip to Bahrain, but confident the prospect of playing in a grand final would have him fit to anchor Central Coast's defence in Sunday's A-League preliminary final.

The 24-year-old joined his Mariners teammates for the first time this week after making his eye-catching international debut in Thursday morning's (AEDT) Asian Cup qualifier.

He drew special praise from assistant Graham Arnold after Australia's 3-1 win, the caretaker coach saying Beauchamp had played himself in contention for a World Cup berth.

But while Germany is in the frame, the big picture right now is Adelaide United and Hindmarsh Stadium.

And that means plenty of rest before the late afternoon kick-off.

"I think the doc may have to slip me a few sleeping tablets tonight," said Beauchamp, who flew back into Sydney late Friday night before jetting into Adelaide and being chauffeured straight to the Mariners final training session at Hindmarsh Stadium.

"I was lying there like a zombie last night, there was a few hours there where I was just lying down and couldn't get to sleep.

"But I'm sure tomorrow I'll be buzzing. The adrenaline will kick in and I'll go from there."

Beauchamp returned to Australia on the same plane as Adelaide defender and fellow Socceroo squad member Michael Valkanis.

Valkanis flew into Adelaide after spending the night at a hotel in Sydney.

The Reds veteran - who spent a frustrating night sitting on the bench in Bahrain - was straight back into training with his teammates, but Beauchamp worked out on his own in the afternoon, jogging a few laps of the ground while Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna ran a light session.

Beauchamp admitted the Bahrain players had softened him up a little.

"I was copping a few elbows here and there. It was a big eye opener for myself because here (in the A-League) there's a bit of tussling but there's no intent to hurt you, where over there their big physical blokes throwing their arms around."

Beauchamp even let slip to Valkanis he felt a few niggles after the game. Valkanis, though, is cautious not to put too much stock in the admissions.

"He was telling me he had sore calves... but maybe he's trying to bluff me and maybe its something else," said Valkanis, who admitted he was disappointed not make his international debut against Bahrain, but still heartened in the knowledge he was in the Socceroos picture.

While Beauchamp had been involved in Socceroos camps with coach Guus Hiddink before last year's World Cup playoff, Arnold said the young defender had been somewhat over-awed by Australia's big-name stars, and as a result struggled to settle in with the squad.

Asked if he now felt like he belonged in a Socceroos shirt, Beauchamp said: "I think I can match it up there with them.

"It definitely feels good when you wear it (the Socceroos shirt)."

Central Coast is expected to make just one change to its starting line-up from the one which played Newcastle in the minor semi with Damien Brown to come onto the right wing for Matthew Osman, who has been battling a mild case of pneumonia.

Adelaide coach John Kosmina says he will keep the same lineup which lost 2-1 to Sydney.

Both teams will wear their home strips for the match, with the Mariners wearing yellow instead of its usual white away shirts.

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