New Caltex Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk is convinced a solid block of training will prove hugely beneficial in implementing his vision for Australia.
Fresh from a flight from Europe, the new boss spoke to the assembled media for the first time at a press conference at FFA HQ in Sydney.
With two friendly matches in late March, in Oslo against Norway and in London with a clash against Colombia, there’s little time for the 65-year-old Dutchman to implement his ideas on the team.
Hence, as he was keen to point out, the importance of a solid block of training before the World Cup.
“Training is very important to me," Van Marwijk stressed.
"As a coach of a national team, you have not so much time. So for example we have two games in March. We come together on Monday in Oslo March 19.
“The players play on the weekend and have to travel so they can’t train on Monday. And Tuesday you can hardly do anything.
“So you have only two days – Wednesday and Thursday – to prepare and to get to know the players. That’s not so much [time].
“And we travel to London where you have only maybe two other training days.
“I like to train because you can improve the team and also the players," he said.
The solid block of training was a strategy used in 2006 when Dutch coach Guus Hiddink took the Socceroos for an intense camp in Holland.
It worked beautifully, with a super-fit and well-organised Aussie team making it through the group stage at Germany 2006.
“A lot of countries play a lot of friendly games,” Van Marwijk added.
“When I can make the decision, I would not play a lot of friendly games. I’d train more.”
FFA CEO David Gallop added he’d had preliminary discussions with Van Marwijk about a friendly game in May before the World Cup.
“There are some options for a farewell game in Australia but we are in no way locked into anything. We’ll work through that over the next few weeks," said Gallop.
Van Marwijk also noted Australia's training facilities in Russia were very much to his liking.
"For me, it's very important we have a very good training pitch [in Russia] and they [FFA] assured me we have a good training pitch.
"And the distance from the hotel to training pitch is important. In Kazan we can walk to the training pitch, for me that's very important."
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