Australia’s most capped footballer, Mark Schwarzer, has retired from international football.
The Socceroos stalwart has been a mainstay of the national team, especially since the retirement of his great rival, Zeljko Kalac, in 2006.
41-year-old Schwarzer made 109 appearances for the Socceroos and played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. His retirement comes as a great surprise, given that he was widely expected to play through to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Former coach Holger Osieck had assured Schwarzer that his move to Chelsea, where he will only play a handful of matches, would not affect his position as Australia’s number one keeper.
There is a lingering suspicion that new coach Ange Postecoglu doesn’t share the same view.
Postecoglu today announced his first Socceroos squad. Schwarzer’s retirement has opened the door to a handful of bright talents amongst the goalkeeping ranks, with Mitch Langerak and Mathew Ryan at the head of the queue.
“Mitch Langerak and Matty Ryan are both exceptional goalkeepers. I’m keen to get them both in … there’s an opportunity for both,” Postecoglu said this morning.
Luke Wilkshire, Brett Holman, Archie Thompson and Alex Brosque didn’t make the cut.
Postecoglu said: “I’m excited about the players coming in.
“Beyond that, what has happened in the past is for others to deal with. “At the moment all I’m offering people, is an opportunity.”
Postecoglu said that it would be careless of him not to pay tribute to Schwarzer’s contribution to Australian football.
“Mark has been a tremendous servant for the national team,” Postecoglu said.
“He is our most capped Socceroo, has been one of our best performers over a long period of time and he has always remained passionate about playing for Australia. I know the Australian football community will join me in paying tribute to Mark for everything he’s done for the Socceroos.”
A number of current players took to Twitter to pay tribute to Schwarzer. Melbourne Victory ‘keeper, Nathan Coe, tweeted: “Congrats to Mark Schwarzer on an amazing intenational career. A true Aussie legend and someone who I have looked up to my whole career.”
Tim Cahill tweeted: “Mark Schwarzer a true professional and is one of the all time greats for our game to ever wear a Socceroos jersey.”
The Socceroos take on Costa Rica on November 19 at Allianz Stadium, in what will be Postecoglu’s first game in charge of the national team. – Gavin Taylor
Oliver BOZANIC FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND
Mark BRESCIANOAl Gharafa, QATAR
Tim CAHILL New York Red Bulls, USA
Jason DAVIDSON SC Heracles Almelo, NETHERLANDS
Ivan FRANJIC Brisbane Roar, AUSTRALIA
James HOLLAND FK Austria Vienna, AUSTRIA
Mile JEDINAK Crystal Palace FC, ENGLAND
Josh KENNEDY Nagoya Grampus, JAPAN
Robbie KRUSE TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, GERMANY
Mitchell LANGERAK B.V. Borussia 09 Dortmund, GERMANY
Matthew LECKIE FSV Frankfurt 1899, GERMANY
Ryan McGOWAN Shandong Luneng Taishan FC, CHINA PR
Matthew McKAY Brisbane Roar, AUSTRALIA
Mark MILLIGAN Melbourne Victory, AUSTRALIA
Lucas NEILL Omiya Ardija, JAPAN
Tommy OAR FC Utrecht, NETHERLANDS
Tom ROGIC Celtic FC, SCOTLAND
Mat RYAN Club Brugge KV, BELGIUM
Dario VIDOSIC FC Sion, SWITZERLAND
Rhys WILLIAMS Middlesbrough FC, ENGLAND
Alex WILKINSON Jeonbuk Hyundai FC, KOREA REPUBLIC
Michael ZULLO Adelaide United, AUSTRALIA
Picture from Mat Ryan’s Twitter.