Kilkenny backed for Socceroos
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Stan Lazaridis wants Australia to hand a chance to his team-mate Neil Kilkenny.
Stan Lazaridis has not given up on his dream of playing for Australia at this summer's World Cup, and hopes Birmingham City team-mate Neil Kilkenny could also play for the Socceroos.
The City midfielder has not been a regular in the Australia squad during Guus Hiddink's spell in charge of The Socceroos, but his experience could persuade the Dutchman to include him in the final 23-man squad.
The 33-year-old has played for his country 57 times, but is dying to compete on the biggest stage.
"I don't want to just make the squad, I want to force my way back into the starting XI," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I know I have to prove myself, but I've been in good form lately. I'm playing regularly in The Premiership, so I haven't given up. Not by a long shot."
Lazaridis also urged Australian officials to snap up his Birmingham team-mate Kilkenny, who is eligible to represent both England and Ireland.
The 20-year-old grew up in Brisbane and is eager to pull on the shirt of his adopted nation, and Lazaridis believes that the Australian authorities should do everything they can not to let him go.
"It was a chance conversation, really, because I never really knew his background until a couple of months ago," Lazaridis explained.
"But when I met his parents they told me how Neil had been brought up in Brisbane, they told me he had an Aussie passport, so I made a couple of calls back home to let people know.
"It's a bit of good news, really. He's a real footballer, and he can be a big part of the next generation, definitely. I mean, he wants to play for Australia, so what have we got to lose?"