x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Lucas Neill chose Al Jazira with an eye on 2014 World Cup

The Socceroos skipper said the prospect of guiding the national team to their third consecutive World Cup finals was a major consideration in his move to the UAE.

Lucas Neill, second right, wants to lead Australia to their third successive World Cup finals appearance.
Lucas Neill, second right, wants to lead Australia to their third successive World Cup finals appearance.

SYDNEY // Lucas Neill's decision to sign with the UAE champions Al Jazira is part of his long-term plan to lead Australia to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Socceroos captain 33, said the prospect of guiding the national team to their third consecutive World Cup finals was a major consideration in his move to the UAE.

"I have a three-year plan and, all going well, possibly a year bonus in international football," Neill told the Sun-Herald.

"In order to play out that plan I needed to pick an offer that was good for my family, good for my body while also competitive so that I could give my best for Australia in the coming years as captain.

"So we can qualify for the World Cup and so that I can lead [the Socceroos] in 2014."

The former Blackburn Rovers and West Ham defender, who joined Jazira after his contract at Turkish club Galatasaray expired said that after ticking all the boxes for experience in Europe and playing at the World Cup, he wants Australia fans to judge him on his international performances.

"Now, for me, it is about getting the most out of myself, for my club and my country," he said.

Al Jazira will introduce Franky Vercauteren, the former Racing Genk manager, as their new coach tonight.