Verbeek not concerned with McDonald’s bad press
- Football news
- World Cup Favourites news
- World Cup Roar of the Crowd Competition news
- Football World Cup - South Africa 2010 news
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek is not worried about recent criticisms suggesting striker Scott McDonald is overweight.
Verbeek today named McDonald in his 35-man squad for the October 15 World Cup qualifier against Qatar and said he would reserve judgment on the stocky Celtic star’s fitness until he witnessed it first hand.
“I haven’t seen Scott since June. I’ve read about it but I never believe what they write so I want to see it myself,” Verbeek said.
“He will do a job and when he is here I will let you know if he is too fat, yes or no.”
The 25-year-old’s physique and general match condition have come under scrutiny from the Scottish press, with many believing his form is well short of last season where he scored 32 goals in a stunning debut year with the Bhoys.
“McDonald’s frame appears much too burly for a man of his diminutive stature and his glaring sluggishness against Aalborg made him almost a caricature of the buzzing irritant who made such a telling contribution to Celtic’s third successive league title last season,” The Guardian newspaper said.
Scottish broadsheet The Herald added: “His success has raised two issues: one over his fitness and another over the psychological toll of his feats.
“Either the new kit is unflattering or the likeable Australian has enjoyed a summer of excess.
“Like John Hartson before him, maintaining a fighting weight is a fulltime occupation.”
McDonald hit back at the critics with a goal off the bench against Aberdeen on the weekend.
But fitness issues aside, the 173cm front man has a real fight on his hands to crack the starting XI with Dutch international Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Greek striker Georgios Samaras and Scottish star Shaun Maloney all showing strong early-season form.
“We all knew after the season he had last year and all the goals he scored … that it’s very difficult to stay at the same level, especially when you have a club like Celtic that have 24 decent players,” added Verbeek.
“Scott will always score goals, not with us so far but that will come also.”© AAP 2013