30 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan
Brett Emerton could be the next Australia international to return home to the A-League – a move that should bolster the competition’s playing stocks and commercial pulling power.
Emerton gave his biggest hint yet that a return to Australia to play in the domestic top flight was imminent, admitting he found the prospect of a return home as “something which excites me and it’s something which I will look forward to”.
“It’s something I’ve always said I would like to do – finish my career here in Australia so hopefully that draws nearer,” Emerton told The World Game.
“I think the standard (of the A-League) is improving each year.
“Obviously being so far away I don’t get to see a lot but I see the highlights and do keep an eye on it because I like to see how the Australian league is doing.
“It’s good to see it doing well and who knows – hopefully I’ll come back one day once my career is finished in Europe and finish my career here in Australia in the A-League.”
Emerton, 31, who has been a regular fixture in the Australian squad for over a decade believes the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign in South Africa was a success, despite the team’s inability to replicate its feat from Germany 2006.
“It’s mixed emotions. After the Germany game I thought the boys did exceptionally well to pick themselves up and put in two very good performances against Ghana and Serbia.
“Although we didn’t qualify for the second round as we would’ve hoped, I think we can walk away with our heads held high.
“Apart from the one bad performance I thought the boys did well.
Emerton admitted media scrutiny and criticism levelled at several of the squad’s players was a motivating factor for the team’s much-improved performances following the 4-0 capitulation against Germany in Australia’s opening game.
“Obviously the boys were a little disappointed (at the criticism) because a lot of the guys in this team have been involved in the national setup for quite some time,” he said.
“I think they have done a lot for football in this country, so to receive such harsh criticism over one bad badly performance was a little bit disappointing.
“However, we used that to our advantage and obviously went out and showed in the next two games that we still are a good football team.”
Given the disappointment of South Africa, Australia’s national team will be looking to redeem itself in next year’s Asian Cup in Qatar.
And Emerton thinks the continental showpiece could provide the Socceroos with their first taste of football silverware since an Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup title in 2004.
“The upcoming Asian Cup gives us an opportunity to, as a team, go and have a realistic chance of winning the trophy,” Emerton said.
“That’s something that all the boys are eyeing up and obviously when the time comes, they’ll have to take many things in consideration – with their clubs and what situation each and every player’s in.
“Hopefully we’ll put a strong team out and hopefully we can win it.”
The Asian Cup, which kicks off in January, could be an opportune moment for the green and gold to regenerate its squad with younger and less-experiences faces. But that could all depend on who takes charge of the coaching reins.
“It’s going to be an interesting next six to 12 months for the Socceroos,” Emerton said.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few young players joining the squad and a few of us older players can show them the ropes.
“It’s an interesting time coming up and there’s going to be many changes. I’m looking forward to it.”
Emerton was recently the subject of transfer reports linking him to Galatasaray, although such speculation was quashed by his club manager Sam Allardyce during the visit to Australia for the four-team Sydney Festival of Football.
Blackburn concludes its Aussie sojourn with a hit-out against Sydney FC on Saturday night after losses to Rangers and AEK.