Muscat Thankful To Be Part Of Solomons Clash
Renowned hardman Kevin Muscat is probably the luckiest player to be part of the Socceroos squad that will face the Solomons Islands, having only just returned to playing following a serious leg injury that threatened to end his career.
Renowned hardman Kevin Muscat is probably the luckiest player to be part of the Socceroos squad that will face the Solomons Islands, having only just returned to playing following a serious leg injury that threatened to end his career. For some it would have been a touch ironic that Muscat-s career might be ended by injury, when you consider the former South Melbourne defender has been involved in several high profile incidents on the field that have earned him his hardman tag in England. But Muscat has recovered from the injuries (ruptured medial ligament, fractured tibia and ruptured meniscus cartilage), suffered in the FA Cup Semi Final against Sunderland, and is back firing on all cylinders for Millwall and now thankfully for Socceroos coach Frank Farina, the national team as well. Asked how close the injury came to ending his career, Muscat was fairly coy, saying “It came down to one thing and a concern with the fracture and it just depended on where the actual fracture was, where it was basically lying or sat. You wasn-t to know that until I went in for the operation and until then there was a number of things that could happen, including a bone graft, a pin put in. “Thankfully the position it was in, it was in a none weight-bearing position, so I didn-t have to have an operation on it basically.” The injury forced Muscat to miss what would have arguably been the biggest moment of his club football career, last season-s FA Cup Final against Manchester United, but Muscat is just thankful to be back playing again. “Touch wood everything-s okay,” he said of his return to playing again. “I-ve played the last six games, albeit they have all been in the last 17 days, so I have been quite hectic since I-ve come back, although I haven-t had any real concerns about it.” “In terms of just football, its great to be playing again, but I could have done with not so many games immediately upon returning. I-m not going to complain though, because I am just so happy to be playing again.” He does however face a tough battle to win back his spot at right back ahead of incumbent Lucas Neill, although the loss of Craig Moore and Stan Lazaridis, may see Farina do a reshuffle in the backline, which could see Muscat get a starting berth. “Look I-m optimistic,” he said, when asked he thinks he will get a starting berth in Honiara. “I think everyone here wants to start and thinks they should be starting basically. Obviously the decision comes down to one man and we will just have to wait and see. “I have not yet had a training session as we were in the pool this morning; I flew in early this morning, so it-s just a matter of trying to relax and get the training session out of the way this afternoon. So I-m optimistic and I want to play.” Asked if he would play in another position in the backline other than his preferred right back, Muscat simply said, “Whatever happens. At the end of the day I am not going to pick and choose. I know where I prefer to play, but if asked do something else (fill another position) I wouldn-t have a problem with that.” While the international break could have provided Muscat with the ideal opportunity for a break, which his coaching and medical staff at Millwall wanted him to take, there was never any doubt on where he wanted to be. “That (taking a break) was advised to me by the medical staff back home, but it never really entered my mind. I mean this is definitely my last campaign, so I want to keep myself involved and like I said if there is an opportunity of playing I want to play. His immediate thoughts though are on the first game in Honiara on Saturday night, which Muscat admits will be tougher than most predict. “I have never been there, but there is obviously a number of things we have had to do in preparation for the game. I have been told it (the game) is in the middle of the day as well, so they are trying to make it as hard as possible for us, which is understandable. “But there is no doubt we-ll be going out to get a result in the first leg, so we can finish it off back here in Sydney.” The return leg will be played at Aussie Stadium in Sydney on Tuesday 12th October, kick-off at 7.30pm. For the first leg in Honiara, Australian fans can keep up with the live action through the ASA website - www.australiansoccer.com.au with a Live Match Update commencing at 1.00pm (AEST).