Pim Verbeek said on Sunday that he will not be calling up Liverpool star Harry Kewell for Australia's opening FIFA World Cup™ qualifier with Qatar in Melbourne this week.
Kewell, the Liverpool left winger, has been one of Australia's key players in the last three fifa World Cup qualifying campaigns. He only returned to playing with his English Premier League club last November after suffering a groin injury while playing for Australia at last July's Asian Cup.
Verbeek said he also won't be using two other Europe-based players, Bristol City midfielder Nick Carle and Nurnberg defender Michael Beauchamp, for the Qatar game. The Dutchman originally included 19 overseas players in a 39-man squad for Wednesday's qualifier to give him the flexibility to call on them if necessary.
"I have now had six days with the players in Melbourne and I have made the decision that those three players will not be required to travel to Australia," Verbeek said.
"Obviously, the three players are disappointed that I have not selected them, but I appreciate - as do all Australian fans - that they were available to come if I wanted them to."
Verbeek also confirmed that all the players who were scheduled to leave Europe this weekend for Australia are on their way, with only one unidentified player left with a match to play.
Football Federation Australia medical chief Jeff Steinweg is monitoring all the European-based players and providing them with individual plans to deal with jet lag and undertake exercises on the long-haul flight to Melbourne, the FFA said.
Sydney FC defender Mark Milligan has been ruled out of the Qatar match after suffering a broken nose in a training match. Australia are grouped with Qatar, AFC Asian Cup champions Iraq and China in the first phase of Asian FIFA World Cup qualifying for the 2010 finals in South Africa.