EPL soccer games should prepare Socceroo stars
With the World Cup brouhaha all set to start again for Australia in Thailand next month, a look at the Socceroo diaspora shows a mixed bag in terms for playing fortunes for EPL stars who need to get soccer games under their belt.
With only four Aussies plying their trade in the EPL this season, it has been an eventful start to the English season in terms of soccer games staged.
Vince Grella was not called upon to play for Antipodean-friendly Blackburn Rovers in their opening game of the season, leaving him only two soccer games in the EPL – at Aston Villa tomorrow (Saturday) and at home to Everton to get some much-needed match practice before the Thailand fixture on September 2. Aussie team-mate Brett Emerton was at least playing for Rovers, and picked up a booking for his trouble.
Everton mainstay Tim Cahill was also left kicking his heels on the opening weekend of the EPL season but that was due to the rioting that tore across England.
The civil unrest threatened to disrupt several soccer games but eventually only accounted for the game at Tottenham – where the rioting started – whom were due to host Cahill’s Everton.
Everton host newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers and visit Emerton‘s Blackburn before the Thailand opener for Australia.
EPL veteran Schwarzer excels in early season
Elsewhere in the EPL, the season has started rather more brightly for Socceroos veteran and Fulham shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer.
Unlike his fellow EPL-based Australians, Schwarzer already has eight competitive fixtures under his belt as new manager Martin Jol, stuck with his experienced keeper for the club’s Europa League campaign.
Although matches against the likes of Faroe Islanders NSI and Belfast-based Crusaders are not the most daunting prospects, Schwarzer has thus far conceded only one goal in eight soccer games – in Belfast – and has already shut out Croatians Hajduk Split, twice, Aston Villa and Ukraine-based Dnipro.
The former Middlesbrough keeper has games at Wolves and Newcastle in the EPL to look forward to, as well as the return leg in the Ukraine, before heading for Thailand.
Next up we’ll take a look at the exiled Australians looking for soccer matches outside the EPL.