Recalled whiz-kid Tommy Oar has backed up the assertion of Archie Thompson that age is no gauge to the shelf-life of an Australia international.
Nearly 14 years separates the soon-to-be 34 year-old Thompson and 20-year-old flier Oar, but the Eredivisie-based Queensland kid is in no hurry to see Australia’s veteran campaigners - the likes of Thompson, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Sasa Ognenovski and Mark Schwarzer, kicked to the international kerb.
He insists the young guns like himself, Robbie Kruse, Matt Spiranovic, Ryan McGowan, Nikita Rukavytsya and James Holland, have to earn the right to wear the green and gold.
Oar showed his blossoming talent by creating the goal for Thompson against Iraq in midweek which has kept alive hopes of reaching the FIFA 2014 World Cup.
His 15 minute cameo off the bench – his first action for Australia in 21 months – showed how much he has progressed since nailing now a first team spot at Utrecht.
But he remains deferential to the oldies, explaining: “It’s great see a mixture of both young and old in the team, that’s what gives Australia a balance and we all look up to the players who have been there and done it before.
“It’s great that we are pushing the older players, it’s good for the coach Holger Osieck and also the Socceroos.
“The more experienced boys need us to put pressure on them but they also put pressure on themselves, that’s why they’ve been so successful over the years.
“It certainly wouldn’t be a good idea to make wholesale changes because that would unbalance the team.
“Every time us younger players train and then play with the experienced members of the team we learn something else and that’s vital to our own development.”
Thompson rounded on the ageist lobby after the 2-1 victory over Iraq, saying: “Who keeps telling me I'm old? Who keeps telling me I shouldn't be in the Socceroos?
“Who keeps telling all us old boys we shouldn't be part of the Socceroos?
“Maybe we've been lacking a little bit in the last (few) games - hopefully this will shut a few mouths.”
That victory, sealed by goals in the final 10 minutes from Tim Cahill and Melbourne Victory poacher Thompson – his third in three games for his country – left a feeling of euphoria mixed with relief among the players, according to Oar.
“Most important now is that with three home games to come we have our destiny in our own hands and that’s a great feeling,” he said.
“I am happy to have played a part in that, but happier that we got the win when we needed it most.
“I feel we’re in good shape to qualify now. After reaching the last two World Cups that’s what the public expects now, automatic qualification.
“It’s obviously hard but it’s vital that we get there as the sport grows in Australia and I’m feeling pretty confident that we will.”
Oar believes his return to the national set up hinges on his form for Utrecht, where he has been a regular starter this season in more central midfield playmaking role.
“That’s certainly it,” he added. “It’s the key to everything and as long as I can stay involved with my club each week then it can only benefit me.”
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