Day 16 Wrap: ‘It’s all tactical, we’re working on the starting XI’
Caltex Socceroos attacker Robbie Kruse has explained some of the behind the scenes training work he and teammates have been put through by coach Bert van Marwijk as the FIFA World Cup™ edges closer.
With the Caltex Socceroos still in Turkey before travelling to Budapest to take on Hungary at 1.30am AEST Sunday 10 June, Kruse has given insight into how the group is tracking.
CONFIRMED: Every 2018 FIFA World Cup™ 23-man squad
Just five days of training remain before the Caltex Socceroos’ final preparation friendly against Hungary, which means work on the training park has become more geared towards nailing down the game play for game one against France.
WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO WRAP OF DAY 16 AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE, BROUGHT TO YOU BY CALTEX
With the bulk of training now closed off to media, van Marwijk has ramped up the tactical information delivered to his 23 players in a bid to have everyone prepared for the task ahead.
“We’ve still been doing a lot of tactical work, maybe not as visible for the cameras to see but the positions we’ve been working on, it’s all tactical the way he wants us to press, the way he wats us to close spaces,” explained Kruse.
“Getting closer to the first game there will be more closed training sessions where we’re working on starting eleven and stuff like that, really ramping home what he wants.
“Then it will start to hit home you’re getting close to the opening game. We’ve still got this week where it will be a bit of a slog try and get through the next game against Hungary and then hopefully it will be a bit easier heading into the first game.”
The first week of training in Antalya, Turkey saw intense double sessions where players revealed in the sharp, physically demanding sessions.
But with the game against the Czech Republic complete, van Marwijk and his staff are getting the players back in the rhythm of training to then reach their peak for the next game.
“It’s been really a difficult start to the camp but enjoyable also,” added Kruse.
“Now the [23-man squad] has been settled on, it’s still [about] working hard and preparing for that first game against France.
“That’s still two weeks away so there’s still a lot of hard work to be put in. It was a good performance on the weekend for the majority of the match but today was another tough session and I’m sure the rest of this week will be tough heading into the next game.”
For Kruse, capped 63 times for the Caltex Socceroos, his selection for the FIFA World Cup™ is a seminal moment in his career.
As a 21-year-old who had enjoyed a breakout Hyundai A-League season with Melbourne Victory, the winger missed out on selection for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Then, in 2014 having broken into the national team set up and establishing himself as a key cog in the attack, a cruciate ligament injury meant he missed the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.
Now, in 2018, the 29-year-old feels like it’s his time to shine and that the new system implemented by van Marwijk suits his game style perfectly.
“I’ve had to overcome a lot of mental barriers through my rehab with a lot of serious injuries,” said a reflective Kruse.
“I’m really close now so it’s a little bit surreal but a lot of hard work has been put in and I’m just really excited to get there and hopefully contribute to the team.”
The VfL Bochum man added: “The game plan suits me really well, the majority of my game is based upon playing on the counter attack, trying to stay compact and go forward really quickly.
“It worked quite well against Czech [Republic], we had three really fast players up front with Tommy Rogic in the No.10 [position]. When those boys are making forward runs it makes it really hard to defend.
“For the majority of my career in Europe, I’ve predominantly played in teams where we’ve played on the counter attack as well. You never know, you can prepare the best you can and give yourself the best opportunity to succeed but still don’t.
“I’ve done that and hopefully if I can keep working hard I can help the team and hopefully put in some good individual performances as well.”
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