Australian coach to brief Euro clubs on Asian Cup

Australia will make its Asian Cup debut after switching to the Asian Football Confederation from the Oceania Football Confederation and coach Graham Arnold and team manager Gary Moretti will fly to England this week to discuss the availability of players. Arnold and Moretti have planned a series of meetings with domestic club managers across Europe, including Everton's David Moyes, Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate, Liverpool's Rafa Benitez and Blackburn's Mark Hughes. Everton's Tim Cahill, Middlesbrough trio Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer and Brad Jones, Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell and Blackburn's Brett Emerton top Arnold's list of high-profile players. They will also fly to Germany and Switzerland to meet with Nurnberg manager Hans Meyer and FC Basel chief Christian Gross.

"All the players are dead keen and up for the Asian Cup but it's about communicating that with the managers," Arnold told The Daily Telegraph. "We need to communicate what the Asian Cup's about because this is not only new to us but new to all our players and their clubs and the players will be missing from their clubs for six weeks during a crucial part of the pre-season. We'll detail our training program so hopefully they'll be happy and relaxed that the players return fit and ready for the start of the season. It's something we've wanted to do for a while and it's important to start building relationships with the managers because we may need to talk in future about releasing them for World Cup qualifiers."

Arnold is confident of securing the services of the majority of his squad despite fitness concerns over World Cup stars Cahill, Moore, Kewell and Kennedy. "There may be a few hiccups but I'm positive we can get most of the squad. There could be a few players that have an off-season transfer but, even if they do, they have indicated that they want to come. One thing I can't foresee is transfers, and those discussions may come at a later date, but from the players' point of view it's quite positive. This is an extremely motivated group. They've never won anything as a nation at any level and they want to go to the Asian Cup and do well. At this moment we have four injury concerns with Tim, Harry, Moorey and Josh - they've either had limited playing time or been out for extended periods so we'll see how they go in the next few weeks," he said.

Comments