Australian skipper Lucas Neill says the Dutch coaching presence at his new Turkish club Galatasaray is ideal preparation for this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Neill, who turns 32 next month, said he couldn't knock back a chance to join Australia team-mate Harry Kewell at Galatasaray after his short spell at English Premier League club Everton. Defender Neill said the lure of guaranteed first team football at the Istanbul giants and a chance to play under former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard were too strong to ignore.
Neill said working with the Dutch coaching duo of Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens - assistant to Guus Hiddink for Australia at the 2006 FIFA World Cup - was the perfect buildup before heading to South Africa 2010 under fellow Dutchman Pim Verbeek. "I know the Dutch system and I'm very familiar with the way the Dutch think and work," Neill told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"It's great preparation going into a World Cup, playing in a very good team, playing very good football and playing in a system that is very similar to what I will play with Australia. I knew I was going to be a key part of the team at Galatasaray because they could only sign a certain amount of foreigners, and I knew they were signing me to play every game."
Neill has played 53 internationals for Australia since his debut against Saudi Arabia in 1996.