Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has set his sights on playing for the Socceroos at the 2010 World Cup – if he can cement his place as Fulham's number one.
For the first time in 11 years Schwarzer goes into pre-season training facing a fight to earn a regular first-team spot after leaving Middlesbrough for Craven Cottage at the end of last season.
Schwarzer was desperate for a new challenge after growing stale at Middlesbrough and the 35-year-old has the perfect motivation as he prepares to battle Finland international Antti Niemi and promising youngster David Stockdale for the Fulham goalkeeper's shirt.
“It is always my priority to be the number one wherever I am,” Schwarzer said. “But I have got to prove my worth, there are no guarantees.
“That is my main goal – I need to play first-team football and I believe that is the reason they brought me here as well.
“I have got ambitions still to play for Australia as well and hopefully qualify for the World Cup in 2010.
“With the way the FIFA windows are these days, there is no reason why you should miss any games for your country if the opportunity is there to play.”
Schwarzer, who signed a two-year deal with the Cottagers, has already settled well in south-west London thanks to the club's goalkeeping coach Mike Kelly, who worked with the Australian at Middlesbrough.
“I have settled in very quickly and feel at home here already,” Schwarzer said. “My family will move down next week and I am looking forward to the start of the new season.
“When you have been somewhere so long, it is always going to be a difficult decision to leave.
“I had been at Middlesbrough for 11 years and it was an amazing experience for me.
“Boro made me an offer to stay, but I had decided it was time to move on.
“I needed a new challenge, a new environment and Fulham was a great opportunity.
“Fulham had a very difficult season last year but with the acquisitions there have been, the club is definitely looking in the right direction, to progress up the table.”
Schwarzer gets the chance to impress Fulham boss Roy Hodgson in a friendly against Scottish champions Celtic at Craven Cottage this weekend before heading off with his new team to South Korea for a two-match tour.
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