Mark Schwarzer reaches the ton and isn’t going anywhere
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Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer became the first Australian footballer to play 100 games for the Green and Gold as Australia defeated Lebanon 3-0 early on Friday morning.
Goals from Tim Cahill, Matt McKay and Archie Thompson gave the Socceroos the victory, but the focus was on the Fulham ‘keeper, despite not having much to do in between the Australian sticks.
The 39-year-old continues to prove why age doesn’t matter for ‘keepers and the Socceroos custodian will be the eldest squad member as Australia hope to make three consecutive World Cups.
Goalkeeping is a unique position. Goalkeepers do need to be fit, but don’t require to use the same amount of physical energy in what an outfield player would.
This is why most ‘keepers can play into their forties, which Schwarzer will achieve in October.
Brad Friedel of English Premier League side Tottenham is another prime example.
Currently 41, the American started off the current season as number one, but faces competition from new signing Frenchman Hugo Lloris.
However, the former Blackburn Rovers ‘keeper still pulls of some outstanding saves, denying some of the world’s top strikers week in week out.
Schwarzer, like Friedel, is still playing at the top level and the Fulham custodian maintains the athletic ability, concentration and anticipation to make some impressive saves.
Even Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger was interested in Schwarzer’s services only two seasons ago.
After Schwarzer, with the likes of Mitch Langerak, Adam Federici and Mat Ryan providing Osieck with plenty of options, the Socceroos’ goalkeeping ranks are set for many year to come.
Federici, Langerak and Ryan will all be given at least two more seasons to prove who is the second-choice and the rightful successor to Schwarzer’s, who is likely to retire after the 2014 World Cup.
The aforementioned trio can use this time to gain some club games under their belt, while impressing Osieck in training camps and friendly fixtures.
One could argue that the likely three contenders aren’t yet ready to take the Socceroos number one jersey, but what is certain is that Osieck already has a man for the job and Schwarzer isn’t going anywhere soon.
With the 2014 World Cup on the horizon, Brazil could be the perfect send off.
Follow Daniel on Twitter: @Quinby07
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