Meredith’s message to van Marwijk in race for World Cup spots

Tim Cahill isn’t the only Australian at Millwall hunting a FIFA World Cup spot - his new Lions teammate James Meredith is also eyeing a seat on the plane to Russia.

Elder, Meredith, Gersbach

Elder, Meredith, Gersbach Source: AAP, Getty Images

The 29-year-old left-back was capped twice by Ange Postecoglou - but hasn’t featured since 2015 as the likes of Aziz Behich, Brad Smith and Alex Gersbach have superseded him.

But with 28 appearances this season for the newly promoted Lions, and freshly-installed Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk open to shaking up the squad he inherited, Meredith believes he deserves to be back in the mix for the hotly contested spot.

“I’ve been working really hard and I’m doing all I can to win a recall,” he said.

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“It was a bit of disappointment - Ange overlooking me - but that happens in football, and the boys who’ve been picked ahead of me are decent players, so I’m not complaining.

“Ange opted to go with younger players and that’s more than fair enough.



“But I feel like I deserve another shot. I’m ready to show the new coach what I can do.

“Going to a World Cup is something I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid.”

Turkey-based Behich is currently in pole position but beneath him it’s a tight race with Smith struggling for game time at Bournemouth and Gersbach moving on loan to Lens to boost his prospects.

A potential bolter could be Callum Elder, who is beginning to make waves at League One leaders Wigan on a season-long loan from Leicester City.

Meredith, meanwhile, views Cahill’s return to the club which launched his storied career as a “morale boost” for the entire squad.

“He’s a special player, certainly Australia’s best ever,” he declared. “He’s just a great personality and everybody loves him here.



“He’ll know what to expect, and I see him doing well and being a really positive influence in the dressing room.

“He turns up with the goals just when your team needs one.”

After five years with third tier Bradford City, Meredith has made a seamless transition to the Championship.

“It’s physically more challenging and the players are better,” he said.

“It’s a step up from League One, but I feel like it’s where I should be and should have been for a while.

“The players are just a lot better. Every week you are up against a good winger, which is what I like.”

Meredith hasn’t missed a beat, playing all 28 league games so far for the team lying 15th on the ladder.

“I think coming up through the play-offs, a lot of people would have tipped us to go straight back down,” he said.

“Our aim has always been to consolidate ourselves around the middle of the table and hopefully push a bit further the following season.”


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3 min read
Published 30 January 2018 at 7:51pm
By Dave Lewis