Australia coach Pim Verbeek has said that he will wait until Mark Viduka decides his future with Newcastle United before deciding whether to include him in the squad for next month's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers.
Verbeek said he was prepared to wait until just before he announces an expanded 25-man squad for Australia's final qualifiers against Qatar, Bahrain and Japan. Australia's 2006 FIFA World Cup skipper finishes his contract with the English club at the end of this month, but said this week that he wanted to stay on with the Magpies.
He has to find out if he wants to play another year. That's one of the last decisions we are going to take.
Viduka hasn't played for the Socceroos since the 2007 AFC Asian Cup as he has largely battled injuries over the last year. "We've spoken with him. He's focusing entirely on his Newcastle job, he wants to keep them in the Premiership," Verbeek told reporters in a teleconference.
"We won't make any decision, he doesn't want to make any decision. He has to find out if he wants to play another year. That's one of the last decisions we are going to take.
"Mark is always on the list. The (Premier) League finishes on the 24th (of May), and it's up to him. If he doesn't want to play next season then it's useless to take him for the June games so let's wait for his decision and let's wait for Newcastle."
Verbeek said he would select a larger squad to cater for Australia's three FIFA World Cup qualifiers, against Qatar in Doha on 6 June, Bahrain in Sydney on 10 June and Japan in Melbourne on 17 June. The Socceroos need one point from their remaining three qualifiers to reach next year's finals in South Africa.