Socceroos camp has been difficult, Meredith admits

The Socceroos squad has endured a baptism of fire under coach Bert van Marwijk with defender James Meredith revealing the first week in camp has been brutal as they gear up to the World Cup.

The 26-player squad is eight days into a pre-World Cup training camp in the city of Belek and with so much on the line every player has been giving it their all as van Marwijk and his coaching staff prepare them for the high pressures of competing at a World Cup.

Left back Meredith is one of the fresh faces Australia’s Dutch coach has brought in to the squad with the Millwall defender reaping the benefits from a solid season with the Championship club where he played every single minute of their campaign.

However, the 30-year-old has revealed life in camp has not been a time for rest and relaxation after a long season with the squad pushed to their limits ahead of the tournament in Russia.

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“The first week of camp was difficult. It was hard work, but it was good hard work and I think everyone needed it,” Meredith said.

“It has given the staff a good opportunity to get a look at everyone.

“After seeing everyone in action I think we have some very good players.

"The more we get to bond together as a team and the harder we work will put us in with a better chance of doing well in Russia.”

Despite making his Socceroos debut in 2015, Meredith has only two caps to his name after being largely ignored by van Marwijk’s predecessor Ange Postecoglou.

A chance to return to the national team fold has been an opportunity Meredith has cherished and with van Marwijk to name his final 23-man squad within the next week, he is determined to make the left back position his own despite the strong form of incumbent Aziz Behich.

“It has been brilliant being back as part of the squad.” he said

“I love being a part of the Socceroos and with the rest of the Aussie boys.

“I’m really motivated at the moment and I’m really ambitious to finalise my place in the final 23 that are picked for Russia.”

Meredith’s first challenge will be forcing his way onto the team sheet for the Socceroos World Cup warm-up clash against Czech Republic in Austria.

“I’d love to be part of it (Friday’s match). It would be great to get some minutes on the pitch,” he said.

“If I’m not selected it’s okay, I’m still going to put my head down and work hard.

“It will be a good chance for the manager to identify who is best in each position while also helping us build towards that first game against France.”


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3 min read
Published 29 May 2018 at 11:00am
By Nick Houghton