Lucas Neill has confirmed he wants to end his Socceroos career on his own terms and says his recent criticism of Australia's younger players was a motivational ploy.
Defiant veteran Lucas Neill has confirmed he wants to end his Socceroos career on his own terms and says his recent criticism of Australia's younger players was a motivational ploy.
The 35-year-old caused a major stir in the aftermath of last month's disastrous 6-0 loss to France when he questioned the desire of the next generation of players to wear the Socceroos shirt.
Former Socceroo Robbie Slater immediately called for Neill to be stripped of the captaincy, while Mark Bosnich has also called for the veteran to step aside.
But Neill, who is yet to learn whether he will keep the captain's armband in Ange Postecoglou's first game at the helm against Costa Rica next Tuesday, is adamant he was simply trying to make a point.
"It was a motivational technique that was used to get everybody to realise just how much pride you m,need to put into this shirt because we are the lucky ones," Neill said at Socceroos training on Friday.
"There's 22.9 million other people who cannot play for Australia, and never will, and can only dream and support us, we're the lucky ones and we have to make sure we don't take that for granted."
Despite a lack of recent game time for his J.League side Omiya Ardija, Neill is adamant he still has something to offer the national team and is desperate to be a part of next year's World Cup campaign.
"There's no talk of me retiring, I will choose to end my career or retire when I feel I don't want to go on anymore or if I feel I'm not offering anything to the team," he said.
"I'm sure any manager, whether it be club or country, could also have an influence on that, but right now I'm training with 22 other guys, I'm enjoying myself, I'm highly motivated and I'll continue to do that as long as possible."
Asked if he has discussed the captaincy with Postecoglou ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Costa Rica in Sydney, Neill, who made it clear he still wants the captain's armband, replied: "No, you guys (the media) seem to have more fun with that than us.
"The focus is purely on making sure that the 23 guys that are here are still here in a couple of months time when obviously we all want to go to the World Cup.
"And obviously the manager will decide on his leader when he feels he's picked his team, and from that team he'll pick his leader."
Neill declared he felt media speculation over his position in the side and his leadership had gone on 'a little bit long' but he says it's just good that people are now talking about the code in Australia.
He also insists he has no problem with team-mate Tim Cahill's comments on Thursday, with the New York Red Bulls man putting his hand up for the responsibility.
"Of course not, any player who gets asked if they want to be the captain of Australia should answer, 'it's a dream come true'," he said.
Upcoming Match Details
Socceroos vs Costa Rica Tuesday 19 November 2013 Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick Off 7.30pm Gates Open 6.00pm
Category A - $85 all tickets Category B - $55 Adult, $30 Concession/Child, $140 Family Category C- $30 Adult, $15 Concession/Child, $75 Family Terrace Australis - $30 Adult, $15 Concession