Day 4 Wrap: Van Marwijk ups the ante in training
The Caltex Socceroos know the FIFA World Cup is edging ever nearer as Bert van Marwijk upped the ante at training on Day 4 of camp.
Milos Degenek was another player to arrive, as just Tom Rogic, Danny Vukovic and Mile Jedinak are still to land in Antalya, Turkey. Plus, Trent Sainsbury gave insight into the mood in camp as all 26 players in the extended squad dream of a ticket to Russia.
DAY 3 WRAP: 'It's unusual to be training this hard in camp'
We’re at the stage of the pre-World Cup training camp where things start to ramp up, as all players except Milos Degenek – an afternoon arrival on Day 4 – trained.
Just like the previous days, there was a morning gym session where the players did some work on the bikes, as well as balance and stability exercises.
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE BEHIND THE SCENES WRAP OF DAY 4 IN THE VIDEO AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
Yet it was out on the training park where the players were split into teams for an internal 11v11 game.
After the warm up, assistant coaches Roel Coumans and Ante Milicic led the players in a ‘keepy up’ race. The 20 outfield players were split into two teams. From there the two teams had to stand in two lines and head the ball back and forth up the line with the first to 20 winning.
But as the training game neared and the warm up was over, players moved into a more expansive passing exercise with van Marwijk and his staff emphasising quick ball speed and touches.
Then came the real fun. The game.
Four lots of 15 minutes, where the coaches watched on, rarely stopping for correction.
It’s the kind of opportunity that allows van Marwijk to further instil his style on the team.
“He knows what he wants and slowly we’re understanding that but quick enough to be ready for what’s ahead,” defender Trent Sainsbury told socceroos.com.au.
“He has a specific idea which he’s implementing now.”
But with the first game in Kazan against France just three weeks away, there is a dream on the horizon for players to live.
“It will be hard not to imagine what’s ahead, what’s at stake and what the possibilities are of the games,” added Sainsbury, who hit form and fitness with his club side Grasshopper Zurich after returning from injury in March.
“Every kid dreams of going to a World Cup and I still dream that to this day. Until I’m out there on the pitch, I’ll keep dreaming.”