Farina backs ageing warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Farina backs ageing warriors

By Glenn Cullen 17/02/2003 04:24:15 PM Comments (0)

Socceroo coach Frank Farina is maintaining age will not be a barrier for future Australian selection, saying he expects the bulk of his current squad to take part in the 2006 World Cup.

Eleven players from the 18-member squad that defeated England 3-1 last week will be over 30 by the time Germany comes around, with four players over the age of 33.

But Farina said he'd be looking at form before advancing years.

"I don't think 33 is too old," Farina said.

"It depends on how they look after themselves and obviously their form as well but I think everybody that played the other night, including the substitutes that came on, irrespective of what their age was, (will) all still be around for the next World Cup."

Farina, who has arrived back in Sydney, was largely contained following the Socceroos' surprise win but still had a few words to say about English clubs attempting to stand in the way of his selections.

"My view now is I won't be bullied or compromised by any of the managers - if they don't like it well that's just tough," said Farina who'd had particular difficulty with Leeds coach Terry Venables and his reluctance to release Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Paul Okon for the friendly.

"I saw first hand with England what happened there and once you've sold your soul they'll do it every time.

"All I'll say publicly is that I got my way (with team selection)."

Farina believed England had "cheapened the brand" by selecting two teams for the friendly and said it was time its national team was treated as the flagship of English soccer.

Farina had stayed in London for meetings with the English FA and FIFA and is expected to announce Australia's next international opponent shortly.

While he would not reveal what team had been pencilled in for a March/April clash, indications were it may be Portugal.

"It's not confirmed but I understand there's a bit of interest there," he said.

"All I know is that Portugal were keen to play us before and when that fell through they said they were still keen for another date."

Farina said his aim was for five or six internationals each year over the next two years with one or two games in England and the same number in Australia.

Meantime, he was just happy to bask in some positive publicity.

"I've copped a bit of a hiding over the last 12 to 18 months - I think the whole game has," he said.

"It's nice just to finally have some positive stuff and to see how much interest there was in the game back here - it was quite astounding."

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