Kewell guessing game begins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kewell guessing game begins

By Guy Hand 04/06/2010 09:25:01 PM Comments (0)

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek will include Harry Kewell among the substitutes for Saturday's final pre-World Cup hitout against the United States but remains unsure whether he will risk him.

Verbeek will field nine of his first-choice 11 in the friendly in Roodepoort - the same starting line-up from the 1-0 win over Denmark earlier this week.

But while Brett Emerton (calf) won't play - and hasn't trained for the past two days - Kewell is a surprise listing among the substitutes.

He has trained strongly for the past two days after being nursed through the two training camps in Melbourne and Johannesburg because of his groin issues.

"Harry is in the 10 players (substitutes) - maybe he will play, maybe not," Verbeek said on Friday.

"I will make up my mind tomorrow."

Emerton was not considered for the match, along with midfielder Brett Holman and defender David Carney.

Holman has been rested because of soreness, while Carney missed Friday's session because of a shoulder knock picked up the previous day.

But Verbeek said all three would return to full training after the US match, and were in no doubt ahead of the World Cup opener against Germany in Durban on June 13.

"They are struggling a little bit but with some small injuries, but they will be ready after the game to be 100 per cent at training," Verbeek said.

"I am not concerned at all (about their fitness).

"This (Friday) was not a normal pre-match training session - we tried to fix the last percentages of our physical fitness."

Richard Garcia will again start on the right side of midfield, with Josh Kennedy leading the line as lone striker.

While Verbeek sees the Socceroos' US clash as a pre-World Cup training session with an international cap attached, not so ultra-competitive midfielder Vinnie Grella.

"All top-level athletes want to win," Grella said.

"You can't play at this level if you're not a strong competitor.

"We want to have a good game, sure. We know the legs won't be as fresh as we want them to be - that's part of the preparation.

"But we're looking to have a positive game."

Again the Socceroos will go into a match carrying fatigue from a gruelling week's training camp at altitude, before they taper their preparation to peak for the Germany clash.

The United States will provide a stiff test for the Socceroos.

They are favoured to make the World Cup's second stage, drawn in the same World Cup group as England.

The US also go into the tournament ranked above Australia at 14 in the world and off last year's surprise appearance in the Confederations Cup final - which was also held in South Africa.

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