Verbeek tells young players to enjoy it

Pim Verbeek’s only pre-requisite for his young players in today’s match against China at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, is to enjoy yourself.

Pim Verbeek-s only pre-requisite for his young players in today-s match against China at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, is to enjoy yourself.

Having rested the baulk of his first choice squad and given six Olympic Games hopefuls their chance in the ‘dead-rubber-, Verbeek believes with no pressure attached to the game, his players can enjoy the experience and that will serve them well during the match.

Former Sydney FC defender Ruben Zadkovich will make his debut; Matt Spiranovic gets his chance to start in place of injured Michael Beauchamp; Nikolai Topor-Stanley, James Troisi, James Holland and Bruce Djite all get their chance to not impress Verbeek, but push their cause for the Olympic Games team.

“They must enjoy the game tomorrow,” he said prior to training yesterday. “There is no pressure; the only pressure is what they bring to themselves.

“It will be a great game; great crowd; they want to win the game. You know I am not a gambler, if I didn-t have the confidence in those players I would have put more pressure on the other players to stay with us to win the game, but my feeling is we can beat China tomorrow.”

Despite fielding a very inexperienced side, with only two players - Harry Kewell and Jade North - who have played over 10 international games for the national team, Verbeek has no doubts the freshness of youth would be better value than that of some of his more senior fringe players.

Some questioned why he would not give players like Scott McDonald and Nick Carle a run, but Verbeek insisted that these guys would be better served after a long and arduous season to get some rest before pre-season training commences with their club, rather than come back for what is in effect a meaningless game in terms of qualification for the next phase of the World Cup qualifiers.

“That's the good part when you bring in new players; fresh legs; fresh energy,” he said with some degree of enthusiasm. “For them it's a great opportunity.

“They bring new energy into the team; you can see it in the training. They are very happy to be here, energy is very high and they had a great training session yesterday afternoon.”

“Again, they are players who are at a great age because they can be part of the Socceroos for many years. They made a good impression.”

Asked if how he thought James Holland would handle the central midfield role, with only the experience of Harry Kewell and Carl Valeri around him, Verbeek did not appear too concerned

“With James I have absolutely no worries. We all have to remember he is just 19 years old, maybe 20, but probably he will be the youngest player on the field, so he can make mistakes and that-s not a problem.

“It-s a great opportunity to play under these circumstances; he-s done very well in the camps while we were away, so I have no doubts he can do a job.”

Verbeek also revealed that for as long as he coach of the national team, he will continue to field a system, which includes two holding midfielders.

“In international football, you cannot give away space in the middle of the park,” he said. “At EURO 2008 there is not one team that plays with only one controlling midfielder on the park; its not done anymore.

“Teams are too good in the counter-attack; in building up, so you always have at least two controlling players in the midfield. I think we have enough attacking players that can do the job.

And the final word on today-s game.

“I-m going out to win the game; we don't give presents to them”.