It seems from today’s news that Mark Viduka has agreed to play on for Australia as he tries to qualify again for another World Cup in 2010.
Mark Viduka – will continue to play for Australia
Australian Coach Verbeek said today.
â€œMark wants to go to the World Cup,â€ â€œItâ€™s two ways of course. He said the moment he was fit he would be there, but there will be games where I need different strikers.â€
â€œThatâ€™s very much okay with him. He wants to be part of the group. He absolutely doesnâ€™t want to say he will only come if he is a starting member.â€
â€œThe only condition he made, which I understand well, is he must be 100% fit and so far this season he has not been.â€
â€œStill he is not, but he had to play a few weeks ago and every game since because Newcastle were in a difficult situation.â€
The Australians will have to play a total of 14 games to reach the finals in South Africa and half these games will b e in Australia, that’s a lot of travelling there. But Verbeek accepts his team will be more than capable of winning some without Viduka as he continued:
â€œIâ€™m very pleased with Josh Kennedy at the moment, he is playing very well, and Scott McDonald â€“ plus we have some young players coming up, and Archie Thompson,â€
â€œBut in the end, Mark Viduka is Mark Viduka, and he has very specific qualities.â€
Viduka has started just 15 Premier games since he signed for Newcastle last summer and he seems very prone to niggling injuries, particularly with his hamstrings. Things are hardly going to get better as he gets older, and we think this decision will disappoint the powers that be at Newcastle United.
There’s two things about Mark – he’s a great player when he’s interested in playing, and Kevin has him more interested than he’s ever been, maybe in his whole career, but he doesn’t play much because of injuries.
Australia are due to play four qualifiers in June, but we think it unlikely that Viduka will be asked to feature in those games. The final round of qualifiers take place between October 2008 and November 2009.
Viduka played in the Asia Cup last summer and when he arrived back at Newcastle Sam often said Mark was exhausted by the games and all the travelling. It’s hard to fault a player because he wants to represent his country and we admire Mark a lot since he’s come back and played so well for our club.
But on a selfish viewpoint we had hoped Mark would end his International career, and concentrate on playing for Newcastle United, who let’s face it, seen to be going places next season.