Brett Emerton is one of Australian football’s greatest success stories. He made a career in Holland and then England, in the league which he describes as the “best in the world”, and represented the Socceroos at two World Cups.
At 32, having achieved what he has, Emerton could be forgiven for losing a bit of motivation, but this simply isn’t the case. With the chance to play in a third World Cup on the cards, Emerton is already looking forward to the first match of the final stage of AFC Qualifying against Oman
“It’s a fair way away but it’s definitely in the back of my mind. It’s obviously a massive game for us against one of our biggest rivals in Asia away from home. It’s a tough start but it’ll be a good test for us.”
Emerton also acknowledged the importance of getting a good result in the first home game against Japan.
“If we were able to win against Japan then it would go a long way to making sure we qualify for a third successive World Cup. It’s that big of a game.”
The newly released Socceroos home jersey that the team will wear as they seek to book their spot for Brazil 2014 will make its debut in that game against Japan.
“I was impressed by the new away jersey which we wore in the last qualifier, in green and gold it looks even better.
“It’s a great looking and what most people probably don’t know is it’s made out of recycled material. It’s a great achievement by the guys and girls at Nike.
“As a player you want to look good as well as feel good. I think Nike have got it pretty well spot on with this one.”
Many people believe Australia has copped a tough qualifying group but Emerton believes the Socceroos have the experience and the ability to successfully negotiate it.
“I’m confident. We’ve shown over many years that when the time’s right we step up and we make sure that we get the results that we need to get.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be a very tough group and we’re going to need to be at our best but in my opinion if we’re not able to qualify through this group then we don’t deserve to be at the World Cup.
“As long as we prepare well and approach the games in the right way we’ve got the depth and the quality in the squad to get the job done and that’s to qualify for the next World Cup.”
Along with the likes of Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill, Emerton is one of the few players who have been regulars in the Socceroos squad over the past ten years and the former Blackburn Rover hopes this a trend that will continue.
“Our roles [in the squad] no doubt will change in the coming years but it’s one I’m looking forward to.
“When you get to my age, you start to take things a year at a time. I think I’m still in a good physical condition and feeling good so I can’t see any reason why I couldn’t play a major role in the next World Cup.”
The up-and-coming Socceroos can learn a lot from Emerton, and the 32 year-old knows tutoring the next generation is important for the future of the national team.
“I think we heap more responsibility on ourselves as the older generation now to drive the younger players in the right direction.”
“Over the last 12 to 18 months there have been a number of players who’ve come in and done a fantastic job. Holger has been able to rotate the team and whatever team he’s come up with he gets the job done.
“We’ve got good strength and depth and that’s going to be important if we are to qualify, we can’t rely on the same eleven players each and every time.”
There’s some hard work ahead, Emerton knows this all too well having played a part in both successful and unsuccessful qualifying campaigns. But for now, he’s looking forward to enjoying some “well earned time off in a few weeks” once he finishes training with Sydney FC.
GGArmy.com spoke to Socceroo Brett Emerton courtesy of Nike. The Socceroos new kit is available now. Visit www.nikefootball.com for stockist info.