Neill confident of World Cup berth
Lucas Neill is confident of making the Australia squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, despite being left out for Wednesday's Ecuador friendly.
National coach Ange Postecoglou named a relatively inexperienced squad to face the South Americans in London next week, with Neill and Mark Bresciano among the established figures to miss out.
But regular captain Neill, who recently signed for Championship side Watford having not played competitively since leaving Japanese outfit Omiya Ardija in December, does not believe that his omission means that he will not be in the travelling party heading to Brazil in June.
"Of course, I'm extremely confident," he is quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. "I believe in myself, my own ability, and what I do have is experience – and a lot of experience at that level.
"My goal now is to show fitness and form for my club.
"Ange is a very fair and honest manager. If you're playing – and playing well – you're going to play regardless of where you play or how old you are.
"There is no discrimination, he's brave enough to give young blokes a chance and, equally, he showed against Costa Rica, he's not scared to pick the best team he thinks is going to win a game.
"I've had discussions with Ange which, out of respect to both of us, will remain confidential, but his message, which he's said publicly, was he has his last opportunity to see people and (because) a lot of them are untested at the level we're going to, he has to experiment.
"His message, to not only me but everybody is, 'I need you playing regularly for your club and showing good fitness and form'.
"That's not just a message to me, it's a message for 30 or 40 guys who need to do that.
"Everybody, including myself, needs to focus on that and worry about themselves, worry about their domestic form to give themselves a great opportunity to be named in the final 23 and bring great fitness and form into a squad that will need to be very fit and in great form to be competitive in the group we've been pooled against."
Australia have been drawn in Group B, along with Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.