Socceroos stars hail performance of Matthew Spiranovic
Courtesy: Geelong Advertiser
CRAIG Moore’s retirement was always going to leave a gaping hole in the Socceroos’ backline but Geelong’s Matthew Spiranovic reckons he is up to filling it.
The 22-year-old has been viewed by many as one half of Australia’s central defence for the next decade.
Injury and a lack of first team football thwarted his World Cup ambitions and he is desperate to nail down a starting spot for January’s Asian Cup.
With Michael Beauchamp out with injury, new national coach Holger Osieck showed his belief in Spiranovic by playing him alongside skipper Lucas Neill for the entire 90 minutes in Friday’s 0-0 draw in Switzerland.
The Urawa Red Diamonds defender began a little tentatively in St Gallen but started to really assert himself towards the back end of the game.
“It was a great chance for me to show what I could do and it was the same for all of the boys with the new coach in and the Asian Cup just around the corner,” he said.
“Everyone is buzzing to show what they can do.”
Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer liked what he saw in front of him.
“I think Matty did very, very well,” said Schwarzer.
“It is obviously a level up from playing in Japan and I think he coped with it very, very well and it is good for the future as well with Tommy (Oar) coming in at the end and Dario (Vidosic) as well.
“These guys are the future of the Socceroos.”
Neill felt that Spiranovic was heading in the right direction.
“As the game grew on, he grew in confidence and he grew in voice and started to be a bit more commanding,” he said. “He needs to be a bit more aggressive because of the size of him … but it is going to come.
“We have to keep giving these young guys a taste and keeping them hungry and making the job easier for me.”
Osieck felt more regular club football was aiding Spiranovic’s cause.
“He is playing regularly for the club and his confidence is growing,” said Osieck.
“He had a solid game (against Switzerland).”