Shaun Murphy And Jason Van Blerk
Two Australians will be missing from the English First Division over the next couple of weeks … but for all the right reasons as far as LG Socceroo Coach Frank Farina is concerned. After many years away from the representative scene, both JASON VAN BLERK (West Bromwich Albion) and SHAUN MURPHY (Sheffield United) have been called into the Australian
Two Australians will be missing from the English First Division over the next couple of weeks … but for all the right reasons as far as LG Socceroo Coach Frank Farina is concerned. After many years away from the representative scene, both JASON VAN BLERK (West Bromwich Albion) and SHAUN MURPHY (Sheffield United) have been called into the Australian squad to play in the Four Nation Tournament in Chile … and it-s difficult to say which one is more surprised .. or more pleased!
“It-s really nice to be involved in the international scene again,” Murphy said today, before ducking out for the morning training session with Sheffield United.
“I realise that there are a few players who aren-t going, but I-m still pretty impressed.
“It all pretty much came out of the blue, I got in contact with Frank through a third party, we had a bit of a chat, he told me he wanted me involved, and now I-m going to Chile.”
Murphy-s major National team involvement was previously at the 1992 Olympics where he played nearly every game, while on the Club front, he-s been with Sheffield United since the beginning of the season, with another season plus an option up his sleeve.
In the meantime, the 29 year old defender is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with Jason van Blerk, a former team-mate from his West Bromwich Albion days, with Van Blerk feeling the time is ripe for his own recall into the National Team.
“Obviously I-m really really happy with the call-up, which was a bit of a surprise because it-s been a while since my last appearance, but it-s great to be back in the squad,” he said.
“I got in touch with Frank a couple of months ago and let him know I was available, and basically left it to him.
“The last time I played a full international for Australia was against Scotland in 1996 so it-s been a long time between drinks, and I have quietly missed the times with the National team because I-ve always enjoyed playing at that level, and now I have that opportunity again.
“I still find it amazing how Australian soccer has come along since the first time I played in the National Team though - I made my debut in 1990 and first went overseas in 1992 when I was 22, and really, there were no more than ten of us overseas - the likes of Frank Farina, David Mitchell, Eddie Krncevic and just a few others.
“Now, there are more than 100 Australians playing in Leagues overseas, and they-re playing everywhere, from England to Germany to Japan and everywhere in between, and all that experience can only be good for our game.”
Murphy and van Blerk will join up with their National team-mates in Chile on February 7, to prepare for the three games against Chile (Feb 9), Slovakia (Feb 12) and Bulgaria (Feb 15).