Socceroos welcome back Emerton
Australia have recalled Blackburn's Brett Emerton for their games against Holland and Oman.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 01/10/09 11:46am
Australia have recalled Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton for their games against Holland and Oman this month.
Emerton has made 69 international appearances but has not repesented his country since last October having suffered a serious knee injury for Blackburn in January.
But the 30-year-old is back in the Socceroos' squad along with Tim Cahill, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Harry Kewell, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill and Luke Wilkshire, who all missed last month's 3-1 defeat against South Korea.
Coach Pim Verbeek has also called up former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Shane Lowry, who is set to make his senior debut.
Emerton has made two substitute appearances for Blackburn in the Premier League this season and Verbeek is confident he is back to full fitness.
"I was with him at Blackburn Rovers a few weeks ago and he looks very, very fit," he said.
No fitness worries
"He's ready and very eager to start playing games for the first team and for us obviously it's great to have him back.
"He can play two games in a row - he likes to play two games in a row - so there are no worries about [his fitness]. I will find out myself but he's OK."
Lowry was born in Western Australia to Irish parents and despite representing the Republic at Under-17 and Under-21 level, he has decided to switch his allegiance to Australia.
The 20-year-old defender was signed by Aston Villa in 2005 and has gone on loan to English Championship side Plymouth having yet to make a first-team appearance for Villa.
"For all of us it's a good opportunity to have him for a week in training and to see him," said Verbeek.
"And for him it's a great opportunity to be back in Australia and to meet the rest of the players."
Australia have already qualified for next year's World Cup finals and although Verbeek admitted Mark Viduka is unlikely to feature, he has left the door open for the veteran striker, who is currently without a club.
"I tried everything to get him in the June camp and then he made up his mind not to come and think about his future," said the Socceroos boss.
"Probably now he's made his mind up for the future. But again, never say never in life."
Australia's 24-man squad features two A-League players in Gold Coast United's Jason Culina and Brisbane Roar's Craig Moore.
The Socceroos face Holland at the Sydney Football Stadium on 10th October before hosting Oman in a crucial Asian Cup qualifier at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium four days later.
Australia are bottom of Group B after two games and will be eager to get their qualifying campaign back on track.