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Emerton returns to Socceroos squad
Published : 01 Oct 2009 08:42:34
Emerton, who has not played international football since last October, is fighting back from a serious knee injury he suffered playing in the Premier League in January. He is joined in the squad by Tim Cahill, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Harry Kewell, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill and Luke Wilkshire - who all missed last month's 3-1 defeat against South Korea - while former Ireland Under-21 international Shane Lowry is in line to make his senior debut. Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek stressed the significance of Emerton's return and is confident the 30-year-old can go the distance in both upcoming clashes. "Emmo is back," Verbeek said. "I was with him at Blackburn Rovers a few weeks ago and he looks very, very fit. He's ready and very eager to start playing games for the first team and for us obviously it's great to have him back. "He can play two games in a row - he likes to play two games in a row so there are no worries about (his fitness). I will find out myself but he's okay." Western Australian-born Lowry's inclusion follows his decision to switch his allegiance to Australia, having played eight internationals for Ireland at Under-17 and Under-21 level. "For all of us it's a good opportunity to have him for a week in training and to see him, and for him it's a great opportunity to be back in Australia and to meet the rest of the players," Verbeek said of the 20-year-old defender. Verbeek conceded Mark Viduka is highly unlikely to play any part in Australia's World Cup campaign, but did leave the door slightly ajar for the striker. "He made up his mind so that's all I can say about it," the coach said when asked about Viduka. "I tried everything to get him in the June camp and then he made up his mind not to come and think about his future, and probably now he's made his mind up for the future. "But again never say never in life." The 24-man squad features two A-League players in Gold Coast United's Jason Culina and Brisbane Roar's Craig Moore. Australia take on Holland in an international friendly at the Sydney Football Stadium on October 10 before hosting Oman in a crucial Asian Cup qualifier at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium four days later. Verbeek's men beat Holland 2-1 in Eindhoven last September and managed a 1-1 draw in their only other meeting in Rotterdam in the lead-up to the 2006 World Cup. Australia are in fourth position in their AFC Asian Cup qualification group and could do with a win to get their campaign back on track.