Merrick urges Archie to hang tough
Don't give up. That is the message from Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick to his star striker Archie Thompson after he was again overlooked for selection for the Socceroos for next week's World Cup qualifier against Bahrain in Manama.
Don't give up.
That is the message from Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick to his star striker Archie Thompson after he was again overlooked for selection for the Socceroos for next week's World Cup qualifier against Bahrain in Manama.
Thompson's latest snub from Australian coach Pim Verbeek comes despite the Hyundai A-League's all-time leading goalscorer getting on the scoresheet yet again for Melbourne during last week's 1-0 win over Queensland.
And not even the withdrawal of three Socceroos players due to injury from Verbeek's initial squad of 24 for next week's crucial qualifier has been enough for the in-form Thompson to force his way into the squad, although he remains on standby should one of Verbeek's strikers fall foul of injury in this weekend's round of club matches.
Merrick believes it is only a matter of time before Thompson, who has scored three goals in five appearances for Melbourne this season and an impressive 32 in just 62 matches overall, will eventually force his way back into Verbeek's reckoning.
"Archie is the highest scoring all-time A-League goalscorer so we all know his quality," Merrick said.
"And I think if Pim selects him - and Pim Verbeek has been terrific regarding communication with the clubs and I appreciate the good relationship we have with him - he will only select him if he is serious about using him otherwise he (Verbeek) wants him (Thompson) playing in a good quality competition like the A-League."
Thompson was a member of both the Socceroos' squad at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany and the 2007 Asian Cup finals but has been consistently overlooked for the current qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup.
However Merrick does not believe the 30-year-old's days of representing Australia are over despite Verbeek currently having a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal in Josh Kennedy, Scott McDonald, Tim Cahill, Bruce Djite, Brett Holman and Harry Kewell - even without the long-term injured Mark Viduka.
"The team he (Verbeek) put out against Qatar and the performance (a 4-0 win in Brisbane) was one of the best I have seen from an Australian team," Merrick said.
"But in saying that Archie will eventually force his way in because he is such a good player."