Qantas Socceroo captain Lucas Neill will lead his country onto the pitch for the milestone 50th time tomorrow, when Australia meet the challenge of Scotland at Edinburgh’s Easter Road Stadium.
Qantas Socceroo captain Lucas Neill will lead his country onto the pitch for the milestone 50th time tomorrow, when Australia meet the challenge of Scotland at Edinburgh-s Easter Road Stadium.
In doing so, Neill will become only the second player to have achieved such a feat, joining legendary 1974 FIFA World Cup captain Peter Wilson in esteemed company.
“It-s very humbling and truly a great honour and I-m very privileged to be able to say that I-m in a list of captains who are possibly some of the greats of Australia,” said Neill.
“Peter Wilson obviously leads the way, but you have Johnny Warren, Paul Wade, Paul Okon, Alex Tobin, John Kosmina, I can go on.
“These guys are guys that I-ve grown up having posters on my wall, admired as a boy wanting to dream of one day being like them.
“But, I-m not done yet, I think to get to number one would be sixty (caps as captain), which is ten or eleven away and I want to make sure I-m well and truly in the manager-s plans to be picked for many games to come.”
Neill first wore the armband for the Qantas Socceroos against Paraguay at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium in October 2006 and has gone on to lead Australia, most notably, at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
Capped at Qantas Young Socceroo level and having been involved at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Neill is one of Australian football-s most celebrated players of recent times.
Domestically, Neill rose to prominence with third-tier Millwall before becoming an English Premier League mainstay with Blackburn Rovers and later West Ham United and Everton.
Neill left Britain in 2010 to join Turkish heavyweight Galatasaray and has since blazed a trail for Australian players in the United Arab Emirates with Abu Dhabi outfit Al Jazira.
At Easter Road Stadium tomorrow, however, Neill-s focus returns to international duties where he will wear green and gold at senior level for the 81st time.
“We-re both (Scotland and Australia) preparing now for important times of our year, the big goal obviously being the World Cup,” said Neill.
“I think we played Ireland around this time three years ago, then Wales last year and now Scotland, it-s ideal for everybody because there-s not a lot of travel.
“For the players, it works well, but we also know that we-re going to get a good test.”
Regarding his club situation, which, as of now is unresolved, Neill offered the following to media in Edinburgh.
“(My) focus is on the Socceroos, is the straight forward answer,” said Neill.
“As soon as I get back I-ll finalise my situation, possibly coming back to Europe but more likely that I-ll stay where I am.”
The Qantas Socceroos take on Scotland at Edinburgh-s Easter Road Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm local time (Kick off is at 5am AEST, Thursday, 16 August).
Australia-s FIFA World Cup qualification journey resumes on Tuesday, 11 September, when the Qantas Socceroos meet the challenge of Jordan in Amman. Kick off is at 7pm local time (Kick off is at 2am AEST, Wednesday, 12 September).
The Qantas Socceroos are next in Australia in 2013, starting with a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 26 March. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.
The Qantas Socceroos return to Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June to continue their FIFA World Cup qualification journey against Iraq. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.
Tickets for each of the aforementioned matches at Stadium Australia are on sale now through Ticketek - click here for details or phone 132 849.
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