Caltex Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou was tight lipped on his starting line-up for Friday night’s friendly with England, but said it was a another vital test ahead of September's final phase of World Cup qualifiers.
Speaking before the team’s final training session on the Stadium of Light pitch, Postecoglou said he’d wait till after the run before deciding who walks out for the Socceroos in the sold-out clash (Saturday morning Australian time) in Sunderland.
But all players were available prior to the final session, which gives Postecoglou options going into a game he says is another building block on the journey.
“We’ve prepared a couple of different ways and whatever’s presented on the night we’ll be ready for it,” he told reporters at the official pre-match press conference.
“It’s a chance to explore a few things we need to do before the World Cup campaign starts.
“Obviously there’s a lot of interest externally about the game which is fine, but it doesn’t really change what our objectives are.
“The most important thing is to get ready for what’s coming in September and October as we’ve a tough World Cup qualifying campaign, and these games are valuable for us to be ready for that.
“For us it’s a great opportunity to test ourselves as a team against a good-quality opponent away from home, expose our players and introduce some new ones.”
Postecoglou added he was nonplussed by what English fans may or may not think of how the Socceroos plays under him.
“I don’t really care what other people think.
“It’s really about us and we want to play our football against a good opponent.
“Whether other people like it or don’t like it is pretty irrelevant.
"And hopefully we get into the space where we don’t really care what other people or other nations think of us. And hopefully they don’t want to play us in the future.”
Aussie skipper Mile Jedinak said a 45,000 crowd at the Stadium of Light would be the ideal way to blood some of the younger players in the squad.
“It’ll be a good experience for some of the younger guys who are just coming in and seeing what international football is about.
“We’re preparing for another game of football on this journey we’re on and using it as our next game for our World Cup preparations in September and October.”