Carney climbs the learning curve

Playing for the Socceroos has provided David Carney with a steep learning curve in his football career, but a steep curve he is willing to keep climbing to make him a better footballer.

Dubai: Playing for the Socceroos has provided David Carney with a steep learning curve in his football career, but a steep curve he is willing to keep climbing to make him a better footballer.

No longer can Carney be the all out attacking flying winger (for Australia at least) that saw him dazzle with Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League and his transformation to an attacking left fullback, while difficult has been worth it for his all round game.

Thrust into the position during last year-s disappointing Asian Cup, he had his doubts he could play there, but he has made every post a winner since then and made the position his for the keeping.

“I hope so,” he said when asked if the position is his now. “Obviously you are only going to play if you perform. Hopefully if I keep playing well and being consistent, I don-t see why he would change it too much.

“It-s not just (Scott) Chipperfield; you also have the young ones, knocking on the door as well, so you have to keep performing.”

“Definitely (about fitting into this side). When I first played in the Asian Cup and playing me at left back, I doubted myself to be fair and I think a lot of others did as well.

“But I worked hard and took everything in as well; all the advice that the coaches and players gave me. Basically I have learned every game, but when I first started there I was nervous and now I am a lot more confident and enjoying it.”

The transition from flying winger to an attacking left fullback has been difficult, as he has to curtail his natural attacking instincts when he is on the ball. But he admitted later that it has made him a more complete footballer and he is reaping the rewards.

“Yeah sometimes, because sometimes you get the ball in an attacking area; past halfway and I just see glory (he says with a laugh) and wanting to have a go; do the step overs and everything, but I just know if I lose it, they could break away and score.

“So I just try to work with the players. If I get the chance I am not afraid to have a go, but more wary now when it comes to my role.

“In terms of my football, I think I am a more complete footballer and the defensive side of my game has improved immensely.

Last Sunday against Iraq at Suncorp Stadium, was one of the toughest games he endured in his defensive role with Emad Mohammed and Younes Mahmoud causing problems in and around the box for every defender.

Pim Verbeek said in his post-match press conference that the organisation of the defence was wrong and while the general perception was that it was the central defenders at fault, the coach had other views and had a dig at his two fullbacks.

Asked if Pim had spoken to both Brett Emerton and himself about his comments, Carney they had spoken briefly about Sunday. “He was concerned that when Brett Emerton goes forward that I stay back and if I forward Brett stays and I thought that-s what we were doing. Some of the positional play, we got caught out a couple of times, but I don-t think it-s a major thing; it-s more the unit, more than individuals.

“That-s what we have to do; play as a unit more. I think we are going to have to be smart this Saturday, because if they get the chances like that (that they had last Sunday) we could get punished.

“We-ve got to pace ourselves and work out when to go forward and when to help the centre halves out more. We are still learning these roles as well and only going to get better, but in saying that we have kept clean sheets in our last six games, so I don-t think we are doing too much majorly wrong.”

Carney was full of praise for the Iraq team, but still thinks if Australia gets off to a good start and score first they should still be able to win.

“They are a good side; they keep the ball and No. 5 (Nashat Akram) is a very good player and we have to watch out for him. They got us on the counter attack a few times, but I think we dominated the possession, but they definitely looked dangerous at times with through balls.

“They started from the first whistle and hit the crossbar in the first ten minutes and we knew it was going to be difficult from then on in. But again it-s about taking your chances and Harry did that; obviously (Mark) Schwarzer has pulled off a number of saves and we have to thank him for keeping us in the game; you have to ride your luck at times though.

“We do have to improve before Saturday though.”

“Obviously it-s going to be very intimidating and it-s going to be like a home match for them. It-s going to be really hard, because of the heat, as they are used to that as well, so I think it-s important that we start off well; I think the first goal is crucial. I think in this heat and if we get the first goal that will be a huge bonus for us.