Viduka Appointed Captain Of Socceroos
Guus Hiddink has unveiled the first surprise selection of his tenure as coach of the Socceroos by naming Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka as captain for the Powerade Series match against the Solomon Islands.
Guus Hiddink has unveiled the first surprise selection of his tenure as coach of the Socceroos by naming Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka (pictured right) as captain for the Powerade Series match against the Solomon Islands.
Most had expected Viduka-s Middlesbrough team mate Mark Schwarzer to be given the captain-s armband in Craig Moore-s absence, but Hiddink decided to hand the responsibility to the 29-year-old.
Hiddink, when asked why he chose Viduka, said he likes to have several on-field captains, but in Mark he believes he has the type of player that typifies the Australian player.
“He is the formal captain,” said Hiddink. “In the way he acts and can act, he is a very strong and determined character.
“He can be very dangerous (on the field) and he is good exponent of Australian football, strong and determined.”
Viduka, who only found out just before walking into the press conference at the teams hotel, was obviously taken aback with the news and was still in disbelief of his appointment.
“It-s great, I mean it-s a big surprise to me,” a stunned Viduka said. “It-s a great honour to be captaining Australia at the Sydney Football (now Aussie) Stadium. It-s a dream.”
It won-t be the first time that Viduka has led country, after a previous stint captaining the Under 20-s, but it was not something he was expecting.
“The under 20-s was the last time I captained Australia; at the World Cup in Qatar and it was a great experience and a great honour for me then, but to do it with the first team (Socceroos) is the top.”
“Not really to be honest,” Viduka said when asked if he ever expected to be captain. "You always have a think about it but there were always players who were there for longer."
Meanwhile Hiddink has not yet named his starting eleven for the first match on Saturday night at Aussie Stadium in Sydney, as he wants to have a last look at several players, including Scott Chipperfield, who will train for the first time today.
“Not 100%,” Hiddink said when asked if he had decided on his preferred starting eleven. “I will look at today, one or two more players, who are recovering from injuries.
“I want to have a last view of them as well and I will release it after our team meeting tomorrow.”
Hiddink is not sure what to expect when his team faces the Solomon Islands, although all and sundry have said Australia will win in a canter.
“Apart from winning, what you can expect (from Australia), is the commitment and playing to a style that suits them.
“The style is not a defensive one, although we have to defend well in all parts of the team. The attackers have to defend and the defence has to make a good contribution to the build up of the game, so its more total (football).
“We try to play controlled and aggressive.”
Australia will face the Solomon Islands on Saturday 3rd September at Aussie Stadium in Sydney with a 7.30pm kick-off. The return leg is in Honiara next Tuesday, with the winner to face the 5th placed South American qualifier in November.
FFA officials has encouraged supporters to pre-book tickets, so a repeat of last week-s walk up attendance for Sydney FC-s opening match is avoided. Pre-booking and picking up tickets early will allow people entry straight into the ground and avoid match day queue-s.
Click here for further match and ticketing information The match can also be seen live on SBS from 7.30pm (broadcast commences 7.00pm).