Emerton Happy To Be Home Again

When Frank Farina’s 20 man Socceroo squad assemble in Sydney this week, Australia’s soccer punditry will be thrilled to learn that Brett Emerton is one of them.

When Frank Farina-s 20 man Socceroo squad assemble in Sydney this week, Australia-s soccer punditry will be thrilled to learn that Brett Emerton is one of them.   Of all the Australians plying their trade overseas, there are few more prominent than the former Olyroo captain, who is at the tail end of an indifferent debut season in England-s top flight.   Emerton plies his trade with 1995 League winners Blackburn Rovers, who, with one match remaining, will have to be contented with a disappointing mid-table finish in 2004.   Although, it has not been a year of regret for Emerton himself.   Despite finishing the season on the Rover-s reserves bench, the speedy flanker has thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of the English Premier League.   “It-s been pretty much what I thought it would be, every game is tough,” said Emerton, ahead of Blackburn-s final match of the season, to Stan Lazaridis- Birmingham City.   “We-ve been quite unlucky this season and we should have won a lot more games than we did.   “Hopefully, with the addition of a few new players and the ones who were injured this year we-ll do a lot better.”   Emerton has impressed many onlookers with his pacy and precise game on the right wing, having moved to the North-West Lancashire club from Dutch giants Feyenoord Rotterdam in the off-season.   Having dreamt of a move to the English Premier League since his tender years, Emerton is thankful for the opportunity handed to him by manager Graham Souness and is contented to remain with Blackburn for some time to come.   “I think I-ve learnt a lot this season and I can only become a better player for it,” said Emerton.   “Everybody expected us to be in that top six or top eight, but it-s been a tough year and all in all I-m still enjoying it here at Blackburn.”   Next Friday however, Emerton-s attention turns to the Australian national team, when the Socceroos host Turkey in their first match at home in almost three years.   Emerton has been a vital cog in the Socceroos machine recently and is excited at the prospect of putting on a good showing for Australia-s sporting public.   “It-s a good opportunity for the national team to get back together and play in front of a home crowd again,” said Emerton.   “I think the Turkish team will be quite tough opposition and we should see two good quality matches.”   After scoring in 2003-s historic 3-1 win over England at Upton Park, Emerton has been present for subsequent friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and South Africa and values the meaning of such games quite highly.   “I think it-s (the result) hugely important,” said Emerton.   “If we come up with good results against a nation such as Turkey, that will entice other nations to want to play us.   “So, I think it-s important to put in a good performance.”

In the absence of colossal duo Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, Emerton is more than capable of assuming the role as the Socceroos glamour player and is looking forward to seeing a depleted Australian side rise to the occasion.   “Obviously we-d like them to be involved, they only strengthen our team,” said Emerton in reference to the Socceroos star pairing.   “If, for whatever reasons they can-t make it, we have to accept that and do the best with the squad that we-ve got.”   Previously, most notably in Caracas in February, and under strengthened Socceroo lineup has risen to the occasion and Emerton is hopeful of a repeat dosage in Sydney and Melbourne.   “From what I hear, the boys did exceptionally well in Venezuela,” said Emerton, who was injured for the match.   “Hopefully they-ll continue the good work they were doing over there and bring it back home.”   The Turkey matches accelerate Australia-s preparation towards a World Cup finals berth in 2006 and having experienced the lows of qualification defeat, Emerton is determined to play a part in getting the Socceroos to a World Cup for the first time in 32 years.   “Everyone knows what-s required and it-s going to be a tough task again,”   “Hopefully we can all stick together and come up with the goods this time.” said Emerton, with one eye looking towards Germany.