Kewell up for lone striker's role

Socceroos captain Harry Kewell is looking forward to the challenge of possibly playing a lone striker’s role on Saturday against Iraq in Dubai, if that’s what is required.

Socceroos captain Harry Kewell is looking forward to the challenge of possibly playing a lone striker-s role on Saturday against Iraq in Dubai, if that-s what is required.

Kewell was dangerous up front alongside Scott McDonald last Sunday in Brisbane and his ability in the air, which eventually saw him score the only goal of the game, is likely to see him get the nod and in a re-shaped formation for the return leg.

Coach Pim Verbeek has already indicated both in his training sessions and verbally that he is likely to change the shape in defence, which is likely to be a three-man defence and he trained with one striker on Wednesday evening, with several players getting a run in that position.

“It-s something different and I-ve always loved playing up front,” he said, when asked if he would enjoy being a target man. “You try to play whatever position you play and you do it to the best of your ability.

“You try and do the best for the team and whoever is up there alone has got a big task and is an opportunity to show the world they can lead up front.

“You have got the quality behind you; you know you are going to get quality service, so I would be confident playing up there.”

Kewell enjoyed going up front last Sunday and had several good chances to score, before finally nailing the killer goal soon after half time. He does concede though, he and his team need to be more ruthless in front of goals.

“It was a situation of the game and to see how they played and it was necessary to play two of us at the top and we did that and there were chances.

“Everyone had a go at the defence, but we did create a lot of chances. Look we are playing good teams and they will create chances; it-s important that we finish ours and hope they don-t finish theirs.”

If he does play the lone role up front, it will obviously involve a lot more running and while wishing to play a full 90 minutes, given he is still not fully match fit, 8

“It will be very difficult; obviously I haven-t played for a long time; we-ll assess that the longer the game goes on, if I am selected to start.

“We-ve got enough quality in the team to change things around a bit, but personally I-d love to play 90 minutes.”

The squad has been put through two back-to-back intensive sessions with Verbeek seemingly getting stuck into his players on Thursday. “Yeah, we-ve got to get prepared for Saturday; they-re going to be a very tough opponent and especially tough conditions, but we are working hard and we are going to be at our best.

“He-s always like that,” when asked if he thought Verbeek was a bit angrier at training. “Because he knows what he wants out of training; the conditions here sometimes make you a little bit lethargic and he picked that up on that quite early and pushed us a lot harder tonight.”

Kewell has no doubts the pace of the game will be slower than what was experienced on Sunday in Brisbane, which was open and fast from go to whoa.

“I think the pace is going to slow down, I think we can be honest about that. I think the sharpness has still got to be there, because as I said with the heat you can get a little bit lethargic and make errors, so we-ve got to be on your toes.

“They need to win; it-s important for them to win otherwise they are out of the competition, so they are going to go full steam. We are going to have a big task on our hands, but again we are young, fit and we-re up to the challenge.”