New faces a possibility for next month's qualifiers

Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek is set to name an enlarged squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month, with several new players in with a chance of getting a call up.

Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek is set to name an enlarged squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month, with several new players in with a chance of getting a call up.

With three games in 11 days, plus a 15-hour plane trip back to Australia from the Doha, Verbeek is taking no chances, hence the need for a bigger squad than normal.

The Dutchmen will also go back to Holland and take in the Qantas Young Socceroos who leave on Saturday for a three-week camp and will play a series of tournaments, plus an international friendly against Egypt, with the view of several perhaps being included in Verbeek-s squad.

“It-s going to be a tough three games, with the travelling; with the climate and with 7 or 8 players already with 1 yellow card and a second one will mean a suspension,” he declared to the media via a tele-conference.

“We have players that will still be playing in Scandinavia; we-ve got Timmy Cahill playing in the FA Cup on the 30th May; we still have players that are not 100% fit; we-ve got players that have already finished and are on a short break, so I want to see them in Dubai and see if they are ready to play this important game.”

Of the potential new players, most interest was on young Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams, who recently declared that his courtship with Wales was over and his future international career was with the country of his birth.

Verbeek said it was Williams who made the first move about playing for Australia rather than Wales, with whom he had played at U21 level and was in several national team squads, but never actually played a senior international with them.

"He left us a message that he wants to play for Australia,” when asked if he had given Williams any guarantees about playing for Australia. “The first initiative fully came from his side. He made up his mind that he wanted to play for Australia and he said if you think I am good enough, I'm willing to be part of the Socceroos; if it's now, months or years.

"From that moment on, we've seen him play in his team with Burnley (on loan). He didn't get any guarantees; he did well. For a player of his age, playing 15 games in a row in the tough Championship League, he was okay.

“It was good to see him, good to meet him, he's a good boy and he is very willing to be part of the Socceroos in the future."

Other players that Verbeek and his assistants Graham Arnold and Henk Duut have been to see include Danny Invincibile and Trent McClenahan in Scotland, plus Dario Vidosic in Germany and Mark Milligan in China.

“Henk, Arnie and me are traveling around Europe and even Asia and we-ve been to most of our regular players and been to see some players that we haven-t seen so often,” Verbeek told the media via tele-conference.

“(Danny) Invincibile in Scotland, (Dario) Vidosic in Germany, (Trent) McClenahan yesterday evening; we saw Nicky Carle, Rhys Williams and we can go on and on. “I saw Mark Milligan on the weekend; I was in Shanghai and saw him play and I had dinner with him. He is doing well; he is happy; he-s playing every game and it was good see him.

“We will more or less wait until the weekend of the 23rd/24th to make our final decisions.”

He was also asked about Mark Viduka-s availability for the games, with Verbeek declaring he is on the list, but no decision on his participation will be made until Newcastle United-s battle to avoid relegation is completed.

“Mark is always interesting player, especially the way he is playing now,” Verbeek said. "We've spoken with him. He's focusing completely on his Newcastle job; he wants to keep them in the Premiership.

"Then he has to find out if he wants to play another year (for Newcastle) and finally he needs to be fit and ready to play for us in June. “That's one of the last decisions we will take.”

One player that definitely won-t be there is Craig Moore, with Verbeek declaring the Queensland Roar captain not fit enough to be considered.

The Socceroos will first play Qatar on June 6 in Doha, before flying back to play Bahrain in Sydney on June 10 and then the final match against Japan in Melbourne on June 17.

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