Jedinak named Australias World Cup captain

21 May 2014 05:46

Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak was Wednesday named captain of Australia's World Cup squad following the axing of Lucas Neill.

He will be backed by vice-captains Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano.

"It is a privileged position and an accolade he richly deserves after the incredible job he has done at Crystal Palace in the toughest club competition in world football -- the English Premier League," coach Ange Postecoglou said.

"Mile Jedinak embodies everything that is great about Australian football and Australia as a nation.

"He has risen to the top of world football and done it the hard way from humble beginnings where he has battled and believed in himself to overcome the odds with an enormous work ethic and passion for what he does.

"I have no doubt he will lead the team with distinction in Brazil and we will have two of our greatest-ever football players in Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano giving the team what I believe is strong leadership."

His promotion comes after Neill, who played for Australia 96 times and captained the side on 60 occasions, was dumped from the squad with Postecoglou saying the 36-year-old did not have the form or fitness to justify going to Brazil.

Australia are taking an inexperienced group to the tournament following the recent international retirements of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, forward Harry Kewell and midfielders Brett Emerton and Brett Holman.

Their provisional 30-man squad features 10 locally based players, two uncapped, 19 with 10 caps or fewer and with an average age of just 25.5 as Australia face world champions Spain, runners-up Holland and Chile in Group B.

Jedinak, who is struggling with a groin strain he picked up in Crystal Palace's final game of the season, said he was honoured to be made captain.

"To be handed the responsibility of captaining my country at the World Cup is humbling, yet incredibly exciting," he said.

"Just pulling the Socceroo shirt on fills me with pride but to be leading out my country and these players at the World Cup on behalf of all Australians is special."

He follows Peter Wilson (1974), Mark Viduka (2006) and Neill (2010) as Australians who have captained the Socceroos at the world's biggest football tournament.

Source: AFP