Mitchell tips Rukavytsya for Socceroos

Perth coach Dave Mitchell believes Nikita Rukavytsya could be a secret weapon for the Qantas Socceroos at next year's FIFA World Cup finals, but is concerned the former Glory striker may not get enough game time to warrant national selection.

Perth coach Dave Mitchell believes Nikita Rukavytsya could be a secret weapon for the Qantas Socceroos at next year's FIFA World Cup finals, but is concerned the former Glory striker may not get enough game time to warrant national selection.

The 22-year-old Ukrainian-born striker proved a lucrative transfer for the Perth club when he crossed to Dutch Eredivisie challenger FC Twente at the end of last season, having scored 10 goals for the Glory during 2008-09.

But Rukavytsya has struggled to get game time in the Netherlands and Mitchell fears that could impact badly on his chances for Qantas Socceroos' selection.

"There's always a chance (for Socceroos' selection) but he's got to play," Mitchell said.

"They're a good side he went to," Mitchell added, referring to Twente's second-place finish in the Dutch league this season, which sees it earn Champions League qualification.

"If he forces his way into the side quite regularly then I think he's got a chance of staking a claim in the squad (but) he has to be playing and when he's playing, he has to do well."

Rukavytsya has been nominated by Sportal as a chance to be included in the squad as Australia's striking options remain particularly limited and he has the ability to trouble most defences with his explosive pace.

Mitchell, though, was on hand to see Australia's two final FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Sydney and Melbourne last week as he kept a close eye on new Glory signings Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski, who scored in the Qantas Socceroos' 2-0 win over Bahrain.

But the Glory mentor is flabbergasted by the way the media has treated national coach Pim Verbeek, who's been repeatedly accused of boring, defensive tactics.

"I think the stick that the team's been getting about the way they played has been ridiculous," Mitchell said.

"The job was to qualify for the World Cup and they did it with two games to go so I think the whole coaching staff want to be applauded and Football Federation Australia (FFA) because it's great they've appointed Pim."

"Everyone says Pim who at the time but it just shows, he's qualified in flying colours and I'm really, really happy for him personally."