Australian captain Lucas Neill sees his decision on which direction to take his club career as crucial to his prospects of representing his country at the 2014 World Cup.At 33 and with the tournament in Brazil still three years away, it would appear time is against Neill playing in a third World Cup.
But the versatile defender, who is looking for a new club after completing his contract with Turkish outfit Galatasaray, is weighing up his options and will talk to Socceroos manager Holger Osieck about where he thinks Neill’s best interests lie in terms of his prospects with the national side.
“I’ll discuss it with the manager, talk about the options and which ones he may be able to give me some opinions on,” said Neill ahead of Tuesday’s international friendly against Serbia.
“I see this as new challenge for myself again.”
“I need to pick the right one because my goal is to be fit and playing well for the World Cup.”
“Some of you might think I might be too old, but I want to be part of that plan.”
“If the manager can assist me with that, then great.”
Neill, recently linked to promoted English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, still believes he has what it takes to play in a major European league.
“I hope so. I still feel I have a lot to offer there and I want to be playing at the highest level possible for me to reward myself and my country with more opportunities,” he said.
Neill, who played English Premier League football with Blackburn, West Ham and Everton before moving to Turkey, expects his club future to be sorted sooner rather than later.
“I’m there or thereabouts. But I’m here with Australia now, so this week has been purely focused on that,” he said.
“I’m trying to get my fitness back up to where it was and when it is all said and done, I’ll have two weeks and that’s when I will start thinking about it.”
Neill has been battling a groin injury which kept him out of Sunday’s 3-0 win over New Zealand, but he is likely to regain the captain’s armband against Serbia, the only team Australia beat at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.