Josh Kennedy Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Josh Kennedy gives us his thoughts on his career and the game against Qatar.

Josh Kennedy came out of the blue to make the 2006 World Cup, but the 2010 campaign will see the quietly spoken country lad play an integral part in getting us to South Africa.

The German-based star chats exclusively with before the clash with Qatar at Suncorp Stadium.

Fair to say you were disappointed not to start against Uzbekistan?

Definitely; obviously with the couple of games before that against South Africa and the Dutch games, I was thinking I would get a start, but that wasn-t the case. You know we got the points, did the job and what we went there to do and I guess all is forgotten.

Obviously not doubt you will be wanting to start against Qatar?

Yeah hope so, Pim-s indicated I should be starting and coming home to play in front of a Brisbane crowd that is right behind us will hopefully help and we-ll get the result.

It-s been a few years now, so how have you settled into the Australian squad?

I am not exactly the new kid in the team anymore and I now have a bit more responsibility than I did at the beginning and trying to cement this striker position for myself. It-s always fun to come and see the boys in camp and great to come home to Australia and as long as we get the job done, it-s definitely going to be a good trip.

Everyone keeps referring to you as the logical and eventual successor to Mark Viduka up front. He is some player to try and take over from, but do you see yourself in that light or in a different way?

Obviously, Dukes plays that central striker position very well and is a fantastic player. Look he brings a lot to the game that I don-t bring, but I also think I bring my own attributes. As long as he is not there, I am going to do my best to cement my position in the team in that striker role. I think the games in the past have shown what I can do; I think I-m still improving, so as time goes on hopefully I will make it my position.

Most people recognise you for your height in and around the penalty box, but you have shown you have the ability with the ball at your feet as well!

I would like to think so as well, although I have a lot of critics out there who think I-m just tall and just decent in the air. But I have played a lot of years overseas now and with one quality only, you can-t play in top flight leagues; you have to be a more rounded player. Although my strength is in the air, I can definitely play with the ball on the ground as well. With more practice and experience, hopefully I will continue to get better at both.

Will getting quality balls into the box for you and Tim Cahill be a big part of the game plan against Qatar?

Yeah I would think so. With Timmy back in the team; he-s fantastic in the air; not the biggest, but he gets in the there and gets his head on the ball and with myself I hope we can get some decent crosses in cause them some problems.

Do you prefer having the second striker alongside you or are you okay with the lone striker role?

It definitely makes things easier for me, if I have someone next to me that I can knock balls down to. In saying that, if the formation is played right then being in the middle by myself with crosses coming in, is pretty good as well.

You and Scott McDonald go back a long way to the 1999 Australian U17 team that did so very well at the World Cup in New Zealand. The two of you could realistically be the strike force for the national team for the next 5-6 years, depending on whether Mark comes back or not?

Yeah, I have known Scotty for a long time now. Scotty-s 25 and I am 26, so hopefully we-ve still a fair few years left in us yet and if we can keep playing in the top leagues in Europe and keep scoring goals then I don-t see why not that we can-t play the next 5,6 to 7 years together in the national team.

You were one of the bolters in the 2006 World Cup squad. Just take us through how amazing that experience was for you, especially as you were and still are playing your football in Germany?

It-s still hard to explain how fantastic the experience was and to have it on my front doorstep made things a lot easier. I spoke the language, the base camp was only an hour from where I lived, so it wasn-t really a big change to be in camp with the guys. Definitely the highlight of my career and I guess that-s why we are battling so much now to qualify for the next one, because we know how fantastic it is.

In saying that though, the following 12 months brought you back down to earth with your Achilles injury?

You went from the highest high of your career and then all of a sudden you are brought back down to the lowest of the lows. I was injured for about a year and I suppose I thank god that during that time that my first daughter was born, which sort of gave me the strength or I should say sanity to not really get upset too much. That-s part and parcel of being a footballer and you can-t always have everything fantastic and there is always going to be up-s and down-s. Unfortunately that was a low, but I have bounced back and I am back here again.

You-ve made the move to Karlsruhe. How are you enjoying your football in the Bundesliga?

For me, Karlsruhe is a breath of fresh air compared to Nuremberg. After the injury, the club really didn-t help me too much in getting back playing and to make that move to Karlsruhe with the coach 100% behind me was a big move for me. It-s good to be playing regularly week in, week out and have a good bunch of guys around me.

Any thoughts at looking at playing your football anywhere else?

I said a few years ago that I would love to go to England, but obviously, I take things step by step these days. That-s the best league in the world, where the best players are I think, so if I can get there one day that would be fantastic. Obviously with the language and the similar way of life would make things a little easier for me and the family.

Finally, what goals have you set for yourself with the National Team and perhaps coming back to play in Australia?

Hopefully I can keep playing for the Australian team for as long as my body lets me. I am only 26 and hopefully I-ve got another good 6-7 years left in me playing at the highest level. I would love to come back to Australia to play in the A-League, but hopefully not when I am retired and done; I would like to play a few good years contributing something back to Australian football. I am sure my wife would like to come back earlier rather than later, so we-ll take it as it comes.