Verbeek leaves door open
Australia manager Pim Verbeek has denied that Mark Viduka's international career is over after he pulled out of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Verbeek left a place open to the striker in his squad for the games against Qatar, Bahrain and Japan to allow the 33-year-old time to consider his next step. Viduka has not played for his country since the 2007 Asian Cup quarter-final against Japan in Hanoi and after snubbing his latest call-up many predict that he has played his last game for the Socceroos. But the Australian boss indicates that any decision on Viduka's future will come from the player himself. "Definitely not," he said when asked if it was the end of the Newcastle man's international future. "I have left another spot open for him. So it's up to him, the ball is completely in his court." Verbeek also expressed understanding of the frontman's decision to stay in England and mull over his future with his contract set to run out in the summer. "He told me after a difficult season that he needed a break from football to consider his future plans," he added. "Mark is currently out of contract and while he is deciding what to do next it would be difficult for him to fully concentrate on these important matches for Australia. "We respect his decision and wish him all the best over the coming weeks as he makes his next important decision."
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