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Injured Viduka keen for Australia return

SoccerNews in English Premier League, World Cup 14 Oct 2008

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Injury-hit Newcastle United striker Mark Viduka says he still wants to help Australia reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, reports said here Tuesday.

The 33-year-old target man, who is here for treatment on his troublesome Achilles tendon injury, has not played club football this season and last appeared for Australia at the 2007 Asian Cup.

“Of course I want to play for Australia again — it's something that's never out of my mind,” Viduka told the Daily Telegraph.

“But it's a step-by-step process and the first stage is to get back playing for my club again. I don't want to rush anything.

“I've got to be 100 percent fit and 100 percent sure in my mind that my heel is strong enough. When that happens I'll be back for Australia. I've always loved playing for my country.

“It's been a long process, but it's just great being back home and among the boys in Brisbane.”

Australian coach Pim Verbeek said he had not spoken with Viduka during his Australian trip, but welcomed his involvement in the team camp.

“I haven't spoken to him about coming back to the national team, yes or no,” Verbeek told reporters Tuesday.

“He promised me last year in April when I was in Newcastle that he wanted to be in the World Cup 2010 and I think that is why he is here.

“For him to show interest in the Socceroos and to be back in Australia, it gives you an idea we welcome him to our training camp to get fit as soon as possible.”

Viduka, who has scored 11 goals in 43 national team appearances, is accompanied on his Australian visit by Newcastle club physio James Murphy.

“Surgery was not considered necessary,” Murphy told reporters.

Murphy said he would not reveal a likely comeback date for Viduka, but the pair will return to England on Friday, having spent nearly a fortnight in Australia.

Viduka's return to the Australian team is considered crucial by his teammates.

“Hopefully, he gets fit and makes himself available again for the Aussie boys because he'd be a massive boost for us,” Everton midfielder Tim Cahill said.

Former Glasgow Rangers defender Craig Moore, who is vying for a starting spot against Qatar following his decision to come out of international retirement, also said he wants Viduka back.

“I'm really hoping that the big fella gets his fitness sorted,” Moore said. “When he (does) he'll be a very happy man.”

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