Kewell on bench for clash with US - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kewell on bench for clash with US

By Guy Hand 05/06/2010 05:52:10 AM Comments (0)

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has named nine of his first choice 11 to start Saturday's final pre-World Cup hitout against the United States - and Harry Kewell as a substitute.

Verbeek will field the same starting line-up from the 1-0 win over Denmark earlier this week in Saturday's friendly against the world No.14 and Confederations Cup finalists in Roodepoort.

But while calf concern Brett Emerton 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.

But Verbeek remains uncertain whether to risk Kewell in the match, or play it safe to ensure no disaster with his star striker prior to Australia's World Cup opener against Germany on June 13 in Durban.

"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.

"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.

Verbeek is confident the US will provide a stiff test for the Socceroos.

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

"They are very well organised, skilful, hard-working, so it's an interesting game for us - exactly what we need," Verbeek said.

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