Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has warned Australian fans not to expect Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to play a full game in Wednesday's pre-season friendly with Gold Coast United.
Hodgson said Schwarzer was not expected to appear at all for the English Premier League club after playing in a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier for his country against Japan in Melbourne on 17 June. However, Hodgson said Schwarzer insisted on playing despite the fact that this would break into his time off ahead of next month's English Premier League season kickoff.
"The problem for Mark is, and I hope people in Australia realise this, is that under normal circumstances he would not have taken part," Hodgson told reporters on Monday. "If we'd gone away on a tour to anywhere else but Australia we would not have used Mark Schwarzer.
"He played his last game on June 17 and he's entitled to a month's rest. But I spoke to Mark before we agreed to this tour and he agreed to give up holiday really in order to play and be a part of it. We want to make certain he's fit for another good season and I presume you people would like to see him fit and healthy in 2010 when you're off to South Africa (World Cup)."
Hodgson has great admiration for Schwarzer, 36, who played in every minute of Fulham's Premier League campaign as they clinched a seventh-placed finish, the highest in their 130-year history, to qualify for the inaugural Europa League.
"He's a man who wants to give a lot back to the game," Hodgson said. "He's not a taker, he's a giver, and I think the fact that he's prepared to play in these games shows how much he's prepared to give."
Hodgson said he was not anticipating an easy match against the Australian A-League newcomers on Wednesday. "We expect a very tough game and I'm going to have to use quite a lot of players I think in order to get through it," he said. "I don't think we'll have so many players after two or three training sessions capable of playing 90 minutes at the level we'll have to play at."