Durante, McKain named in Socceroos squad

WELLINGTON Phoenix central defenders Andrew Durante and Jon McKain have been rewarded for a stellar Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season with selection in the Australia squad for an Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia on March 3.

WELLINGTON Phoenix central defenders Andrew Durante and Jon McKain have been rewarded for a stellar Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season with selection in the Australia squad for an Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia on March 3.

Phoenix skipper Durante and McKain have played pivotal roles in the Phoenix-s charge into the playoffs this season and the solid defensive pairing could well feature against Indonesia in Brisbane.

Durante, 27, is yet to make his full senior international debut, although he has previously been part of Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek-s World Cup training squad. McKain, 28, is in line to add to his 12 senior international appearances for Australia, his last in 2006.

Durante said the call-up to the 25-man squad was a huge honour.

“I-m rapt - very, very pleased. Every footballer wants to play for their country and to have this chance is fantastic.”

The shot at being part of the Socceroos squad for this year-s World Cup finals in South Africa was a massive bonus, especially given that Durante had previously been part of the Australian training squad for the world-s biggest sporting event.

“I-ve been part of a training camp before so I know what to expect. That means I-ll probably be a little more relaxed and be able to push my chances for South Africa.”

Durante said he never lost his ambition to play senior representative football.

“I-ve simply focused on playing well for the Phoenix each week and it-s nice to be rewarded. When I came to Wellington people said my international chances would be dead and buried. I-ve never believed that, I never saw joining the Phoenix as a disadvantage and this is proof of that.”

There is a good chance Durante will play alongside his mate, McKain, against Indonesia. Both players have been dynamic for the Phoenix and form perhaps the best central defensive pairing in the Hyundai A-League.

“It-d be fantastic if Jonny and I got to play together,” said Durante. “We-re very comfortable in our partnership and I-m glad we-ve both been rewarded for a good season.”

McKain said his selection came as a surprise despite his good form for the Phoenix.

“I-ve been concentrating on playing well for the Phoenix, so this is a bonus. I-ve worked on getting back into the starting XI and the whole team-s on a good run. For the first time since I-ve been in Wellington I-m completely injury-free, there are no little niggles, and I-m playing in my preferred position.”

Like Durante, McKain said selection to the international squad was proof that playing for the Phoenix was no barrier to higher honours.

“We-re playing well and people are taking notice. I think it-s a big statement to the league. Even us so-called ‘Aussie rejects- are getting attention.”

SOCCEROOS SQUAD

Clint BOLTON Sydney FC, Australia 4 (0)

Alex BROSQUE Sydney FC, Australia 4 (0)

Shannon COLE Sydney FC, Australia -

Simon COLOSIMO Sydney FC, Australia 25 (3)

Jason CULINA Gold Coast United, Australia 45 (1)

Luke DEVERE Brisbane Roar, Australia -

Andrew DURANTE Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand -

Eugene GALEKOVIC Adelaide United, Australia 3 (0)

Scott JAMIESON Adelaide United, Australia 1 (0)

Ben KANTAROVSKI Newcastle Jets, Australia -

Josh KENNEDY Nagoya Grampus, Japan 17 (6)

Mathew LECKIE Adelaide United, Australia -

Michael MARRONE Adelaide United, Australia -

Daniel McBREEN Perth Glory, Australia -

Jonathan McKAIN Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand 12 (0)

Matthew McKAY Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 3 (0)

Mark MILLIGAN JEF United, Japan 8 (0)

Stuart MUSIALIK Sydney FC, Australia -

Jade NORTH Incheon United FC, Korea Republic 28 (0)

Tommy OAR Brisbane Roar FC, Australia -

Matt THOMPSON Newcastle Jets FC, Australia 3 (0)

Danny VUKOVIC Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia -

David WILLIAMS North Queensland Fury FC, Australia 1 (0)

Luke WILKSHIRE FK Dinamo Moscow, Russia 39 (2)

Michael ZULLO Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 2 (0)