Nichols named in Socceroos squad


Brisbane Roar midfielder Mitch Nichols has been rewarded for his impressive club performances by being named in Qantas Socceroos Head Coach Holger Oseick’s 23-player squad for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Oman and Thailand.

Brisbane Roar midfielder Mitch Nichols has been rewarded for his impressive club performances by being named in Qantas Socceroos Head Coach Holger Oseick-s 23-player squad for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Oman and Thailand.

Nichols- form has been outstanding in Brisbane-s opening four fixtures, including the lone goal in his side-s 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners and three assists in the Roar-s 7-1 demolition of Adelaide United last time out.

The first to admit he didn-t make the most of his chance with the Australian national team when making his debut as a 19-year-old in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying game against Kuwait in 2009, Nichols plans to grab this opportunity with both hands.

“I didn-t expect it, but I-m really excited,” he said.

“I-ve been working towards this and now I-ve got to make the most of it.

“There-s no guarantee of game time or anything but I-m going to go over there and do my best and hopefully impress.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was four or five, ever since I started playing.

“It didn-t hit me what I achieved then (back in 2009) and this second time round, I-m going to make the most of it and I don-t want to let the chance go by.”

The former Palm Beach junior received a call from Qantas Socceroos Team Manager Gary Moretti after training on Monday afternoon but had to keep his news quiet from his teammates until this morning.

“It was pretty hard to do – I only told my mum and a few close mates who I knew wouldn-t tell anyone,” Nichols said.

“I wanted to come into the changing room and tell everyone but I had to keep my mouth shut.”

Nichols named his new-found consistency in the orange jersey as a key factor in his improvement over the past 18 months which in turn as led to his Australian team selection.

“I was probably slacking off a bit after I did originally play for the Socceroos when I was 19,” he said.

“I-ve come in with a fresh attitude, starting from last pre-season and I-ve just continued that.

“Ange has been in my ear every week about improving and keeping that consistency.

“He told me, you know you-ve got the talent and now it-s about your hard work on and off the field, looking after yourself when you-re away from here and doing all the right things.”

The 22-year-old said he drew inspiration from close mate, former teammate and fellow Qantas Socceroos squad member Matt McKay, who last season displayed through hard work and dedication that Hyundai A-League players can make the cut for Osieck-s playing group.

“Matty was an inspiration, he was getting picked in the Socceroos last year while playing in the A-League,” he said.

“We all look around and think, well if he can do it, why can-t we.

“I-ve missed him, he was one of my close mates in the team and I actually spoke to him yesterday about it.

“He told me not to be nervous and just go in and play the way I-ve been playing for club and don-t be overawed.”

Nichols is in good company within the Hyundai A-League contingent, named alongside veterans Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell in Oseick-s squad for the 11 November game in Muscat and the 15 November match in Bangkok.

Coupled with his impending Qantas Olyroos commitments, Nichols will miss three Brisbane Roar fixtures in total – Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on 13 November, Newcastle Jets away on 19 November and Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on 26 November.

The Qantas Socceroos will assemble in Dubai early next week for a short training camp before arriving in Muscat on Thursday 10 November to face Oman the next day at the Sultan Qaboos Stadium.

The Qantas Socceroos will then travel to Bangkok the following day (Saturday 12 November) to prepare for their match against Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium on Tuesday (15 November).

At this stage Football Federation Australia (FFA) has not been informed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of any change to the venue or kick-off time and date for the match against Thailand due to the flood waters that are currently affecting Bangkok. FFA is in daily contact with the AFC regarding the situation and will advise all stakeholders immediately should the match details change.

The Qantas Socceroos are currently at the top of Group D with maximum points from their opening three matches followed by Thailand in second place then Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Both matches will be broadcast live and exclusive throughout Australia by FOX SPORTS.

Qantas Socceroos squad: Alex BROSQUE (Shimizu S-Pulse, JAPAN), Nathan COE (Sønderjysk Elitesport, DENMARK), Brett EMERTON (Sydney FC, AUSTRALIA), Adam FEDERICI (Reading FC, ENGLAND), Chris HERD (Aston Villa, ENGLAND), Brett HOLMAN (AZ Alkmaar, NETHERLANDS), Mile JEDINAK (Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND), Josh KENNEDY (Nagoya Grampus, JAPAN), Harry KEWELL (Melbourne Victory, AUSTRALIA), Neil KILKENNY (Bristol City FC, ENGLAND), Robbie KRUSE (Fortuna Dusseldorf, GERMANY), Matt McKAY (Glasgow Rangers, SCOTLAND), Lucas NEILL (Al-Jazira Club, UAE), Mitch NICHOLS (Brisbane Roar, AUSTRALIA), Sasa OGNENOVSKI (Seongham Ilwha Chunma, KOREA REPUBLIC), Adam SAROTA (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS), Mark SCHWARZER (Fulham FC, ENGLAND), Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Urawa Red Diamonds, JAPAN), James TROISI (Kayserispor Kulubu, TURKEY), Carl VALERI (U.S. Sassuolo Calcio, ITALY), Luke WILKSHIRE (FK Dinamo Moscow, RUSSIA), Rhys WILLLIAMS (Middlesbrough FC, ENGLAND), Michael ZULLO (FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS).