Milicic: Everything is going to plan for Caltex Socceroos
Caltex Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic has praised the first week of training in their pre-FIFA World Cup camp in Antalya, Turkey.
With only Tomi Juric missing training on Saturday (Sunday AEST), Milicic believes everything has gone to plan as players now get a day off on Sunday (Monday AEST) to recharge the batteries after a gruelling first seven days.
“Training has gone probably how I expected it to go, with such a major tournament with players fighting for positions in the final squad means it’s been very intense,” explained Milicic.
“At the same time, if you look at the physical aspect and the tactical work we’ve done, it’s been a great week to start with and it’s given us a platform to build forward with.”
The former Western Sydney Wanderers assistant coach added: “There’s two players who have a bit of a pinch – Juric has had an issue with his knee – but they’re in capable hands.
“This medical staff know the players’ bodies better than anyone and with the free day tomorrow, with the work we’ve done it gives them the chance to have the treatment they need to be available for training at the start of next week.”
Milicic, who played a major role in helping the Caltex Socceroos qualify for the 2018 event in Russia and acted as assistant coach under Ange Postecoglou at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, also provided an update on the progress of new face Fran Karacic.
Karacic, who was born and raised in Croatia, impressed Milicic and had been on the Australian radar for 18 months before getting called up into Bert van Marwijk’s 26-man extended squad.
“He’s been on our radar for probably 18 months, we were looking at him even with Ange [Postecoglou] for the Confederations Cup last year,” said Milicic.
“He’s got an Australian passport so he’s eligible to play and me being based in Croatia, I’ve watch a fair few of his games live and he can play as a right back or at centre back. He’s young, 22 years old, played for the Croatian youth teams and is one Bert felt was worth bringing into camp so Bert and his staff can have a look at him in front of their own eyes every day.”
Milicic added: “He understands a lot more than he can speak and day by day he’s getting a lot better.
“You’ve got to understand he’s still young and it’s a different environment to what he’s used to but he’s adapted quite well. Again, at the same time, coming into a camp where he doesn’t know the players, the staff or the playing style means he has to adapt very, very quickly to what he’s used to.
“Football is all about adapting and it’s been a very good experience for him.”
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