Neill seeking new European adventure
Australian captain Lucas Neill says he is looking for a fresh challenge in Europe and will not rule out a return to England as the 33-year-old searches for a new club.
The former Everton, Blackburn and West Ham defender, who is recovering from a minor groin operation, is looking for another club after being released by Turkish giants Galatasaray.
He played an hour of Australia's 0-0 draw with Serbia in Melbourne on Tuesday but knows that at this stage of his career he needs regular first-team football, especially with FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers looming.
"It's nice and positive to bounce back and send the message that all is good and I'm ready to take on my next challenge," Neill told reporters after the stalemate. "I am enjoying my football and I'm sure I can play a massive part in someone's team."
Australia coach Holger Osieck said he was confident his skipper would soon find a new club with Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup set to start in September.
Neill, who has played most of his career in England, said he is looking to tie down a new club somewhere in Europe after getting through his first run-out in six weeks in Melbourne. "I am excited by a new challenge. I'm a little disappointed to have left Galatasaray, it's such a big club in Europe, but it's time to move on and whether it will be England, France, Germany, wherever now, I'm excited," he said.
And the tough-tackling Neill said he has not closed the door on a return to the English Premier League after playing the last two seasons in Turkey. "I said after 15 years in England I was happy to walk away from England, but equally, if it all fits, how can you not say I would go back to England," he said.
"I'm hopeful that something different will come along as well because I would like to try myself in Spain, Germany or France. Just to say that I've played there and experienced it and add a different dimension to my game and try a different style."
Neill will spend the next few weeks with family in Sydney before he begins the search in earnest for a new club in time for the European season.
Neill consulted Osieck during Australia's two-match camp and the German trainer has no concerns that he will be settled in a new club in time for Australia's opening FIFA World Cup qualifiers. "It's definitely an issue, but I'm not his agent," Osieck said. "I've got the information that there are talks and he's going to find a club. He definitely will be attached to a club when our World Cup campaign starts."