Chris Herd still wants to play for Australia despite feeling “gutted and shell-shocked” by Holger Osieck's questioning of his commitment and potential at international level.
That is the message from the Aston Villa midfielder’s Scottish father, Willie Herd, who said the 23 year-old feels like he has been slandered by Osieck but will not entertain thoughts of playing for Scotland, which expressed an interest in capping him a year ago.
Herd has pulled out of three previous Socceroos squads through injury before being overlooked for the 7 September international match against Lebanon and 2014 World Cup qualifier against Jordan five days later.
Willie Herd, a former professional in Scotland with Falkirk and Partick Thistle, said: “I have spoken with Chris and he is gutted and shell-shocked. The feeling is his name has been tarnished and slandered by the coach.
“It’s very disappointing and as a national team coach Holger Osieck should know better than to publicly hand out a slap in the face to a young kid who is trying to make his way in the football world.
“Holger should have called Chris first to tell him of his views rather than let him read about it in the media. That was a little bit below the belt.
“I don’t think he deserved that. He’s feeling hurt but I know he’s still determined to play for Australia.
“The only person who wants him to play for Scotland is me and he’s not interested. I have not tried to sway him at all and I’d be wasting my time if I was because all he’s ever wanted to do was play for the country where he was born and raised.”
On his decision not to select Herd, Osieck said: “I wanted to give him a chance to look how he does in our group. I wasn't actually convinced. I just wanted to open the door for him. Then he had to decline from invitations three times, so I never really got a chance to see him again.
“I think at present, I don't really see him in a situation to help our team. Despite the fact he played (in the 4-1 League Cup win against Tranmere Rovers) and even scored with a very easy tap in, he was not convincing enough to get a call.”
The German coach then queried Herd’s desire to represent his country, saying: “That is a question I can't answer. I went to see him in Birmingham. He looked committed; he wanted to play for Australia.”
Herd has yet to speak with Osieck over his remarks and is in Scotland visiting relatives while deciding how best to respond.
“He probably has two options,” Willie Herd said. “He either calls the manager and asks him straight whether he is in his plans and what he meant by his comments or he just carries and shuts his mouth and keeps doing what he’s doing.
“I would tend to think he should maybe not say too much and avoid a war of words with the coach because nothing good is likely to come out of that.
“Hopefully, his form will do the talking for him. The person he needs to please the most is Paul Lambert, the coach at Aston Villa.
“Perhaps Holger Osieck feels Chris was doing the wrong thing by missing the previous camps. The last time, for the match against Scotland, he hadn’t trained for two weeks and was recovering from a quad injury picked on the pre-season trip to America. He was then surprised to be named a few days later in the Villa squad.”
Willie Herd said his son had been receiving mixed message from Osieck before the snub.
“Chris got the impression, even before now, that Holger Osieck doesn’t really rate him anyway.
"Maybe Holger would be better just coming out and saying that Chris isn’t his type of player ff that’s what he feels - and then move on from there.”
A recent disturbing trend of players dropping their heads in adversity must end now, says Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick.