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The buzz that keeps Schwarzer going

20 March 2013-SBS: Philip Micallef

socceroos schwarzer

Welcome ... Mark Schwarzer greets FFA chief executive David Gallop at training on Tuesday (AAP)

Australia's stand-in captain Mark Schwarzer said he gets the same thrill from playing for the green and gold now as when he made his national debut in 1993.

Schwarzer, 40, has played for Australia 104 times since making his first appearance in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

On Tuesday night Schwarzer will deputise for suspended defender Lucas Neill in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Oman at Stadium Australia.

"Anything less than three points will be a disaster for us," Schwarzer said at the team's hotel in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's going to be a very, very tough task for us."

"Obviously, if you look at where we're sitting on the table, it (three matches out of four played away) has worked out ok.

"We would have liked to pick up a couple more points along the way.

"Now with the four remaining games, every one of them is obviously vitally important, particularly the three home games."

Next week's Oman encounter is a crunch game and Schwarzer will be just as excited as when he came on as a substitute for Robert Zabica in Edmonton, Canada, two decades ago.

”Of course, I get the same buzz,” Schwarzer said.

”Yes, it's very true, I have been playing a long time but I think that, the longer you play, the more games you play, if you do not get that buzz that I still get from playing for your country I would not be sitting here today.

”That is what drives me, that continuous buzz from representing my country.”

Schwarzer, who plays his club football for Fulham in the English Premier League, is Holger Osieck's most experienced player and the coach had no qualms about giving him the captaincy when it became available.

Goalkeeper captains are not very common at club or national level.

While many believe goalkeepers have the best seat in the house to see what's unfolding in front of them, others maintain that sometimes they are too far away from the action to be able to exert any influence.

The veteran custodian, who was raised in Sydney's west, clearly subscribes to the former view.

”The game is all about opinions,” he said.

”And my view is that a goalkeeper's position is just as important as any other on the park.

”I think you can have influence from any position.

”What's important is that we have a team that has a good balance of experienced players who are able to lead from all over the park.

”When Lucas is here he is definitely one of the more vocal players in the team but there are other leaders too.

”You cannot have just one leader.”

Schwarzer, who has tried to avoid controversy throughout his career, raised many eyebrows in 2012 when he said that Aussie players coming home to end their careers in the A-League were at risk of falling victim of the notorious tall poppy syndrome.

He cited as an example World Cup striker John Aloisi's two-year stint with Sydney FC when he was often heavily criticised by the fans for his performances that did not meet their expectations.

”I'm not going to hide from the fact that I did say that, yes,” Schwarzer said.

”I think early on it (the excessive criticism) was something that happened.

”But I don't think that as the years went by it happened as often any more, in fact I don't think it happens at all now.

”All the returning players I have spoken to since then speak very highly of the way in which they are received here in Australia.

”I think the league has evolved and become very competitive and even the fans have taken the competition to a higher level.

”Western Sydney are a great example of that.”

Many members of the Socceroos squad have expressed their wish to attend the much-awaited Sydney derby at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

But Osieck has ruled this out because he said it would be too much of a distraction three days before a key qualifier.

The team will have to watch the match as a group at its hotel via a set of big screens.

So who will Schwarzer back in the derby?

”I will be supporting Western Sydney definitely,” he said.

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