Verbeek confident in young chargers

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has every confidence in his young group of players to do the job on Sunday night against China at ANZ Stadium and come away from the game with all three points.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has every confidence in his young group of players to do the job on Sunday night against China at ANZ Stadium and come away from the game with all three points.

Verbeek has named only four players that started last Saturday-s 3-1 win over Qatar in Doha in the squad for the China match, with the majority of new players into the team coming from the Australian Olympic squad.

While Verbeek named Michael Petkovic as his starting keeper on Sunday, it seems the only other certainties are captain Harry Kewell, Michael Beauchamp, Jade North and Carl Valeri.

But despite the inexperience of the squad, Verbeek has plenty of belief in the team and believes they will give the near full strength Chinese team a good run for their money.

“If I wasn-t sure that they could do a job and they could win the game, I would not bring them into the team; I would bring in other players,” he said after training at Parramatta Stadium. “I-m responsible for the result and for entertaining the fans. I am fully confident about the players here today, that they can do a job and that we can win the game.

“Of course it will be a big game; it will be an interesting game; I think it will be a great experience for the young boys to show themselves and prepare them for the Olympics.

“I think they all can do a job. They all did very well during the camp; they can all play good football. They lack international experience but the only way to get international experience is to play international games. So here we, we give them their chance under fantastic conditions.”

Verbeek though was surprised to hear that China were close to full strength, believing that since they could not qualify, they might play the majority of their Olympic squad also. He also has no doubts they will be up for this game.

“I am surprised about that, but I like it,” he said. “It-s a great test for us. I can understand their argument; they were very surprised to be number 4 in the group, so they want to show everybody that-s a mistake. So they will come here and give everything they have to finish off on a good note.

“I think they will fight from the first to the last second. I promise you there was unbelievable pressure on their shoulders.

“My feeling is that pressure is gone so now they can play free. They are more dangerous than when they are under pressure. That-s two billion people on your back, I have only 20 million. I think they will be better than the last games they played; it will be a tough game for us.”

Verbeek, while understanding of how some fans might feel, defended his decision to give his more senior players a break for this game.

“I can understand that also, but in the end it-s my responsibility and also the responsibility of the players to tell me if they prefer to have at least two or three weeks off before they start pre-season.

“All the players who are not here are the players who had a tough season in Europe. Normally they have five weeks holiday; they spent three of the five weeks in training camp under difficult circumstances away from their families.

“I think they deserve a break with their family and we need them for the next months and years.”

Verbeek added a further four players to his squad from the Olympic team, who are training in Terrigal, getting his first glance at David Williams and Neil Kilkenny, plus another look at Kristian Sarkies and Stuart Musialik. The latter three all trained with the 2006 World Cup squad during the training camp in the Netherlands and Germany.

Against his normal practice, Verbeek also confirmed that Michael Petkovic will get the nod in goal, after sitting on the bench for the previous three World Cup qualifiers.

Tickets for the match are still available from Ticketek.