New Caltex Socceroo Bert van Marwijk will assess some of Australia's best players in the Hyundai A-League this weekend as he begins assessing his squad options before June's World Cup in Russia.
Van Marwijk flew into Sydney today (Thurs) and spoke to the Australian media in for the first time at a press conference at FFA.
The 65-year-old Dutchman will attend three Hyundai A-League matches during this rebel Play Football Round - Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix, Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne Victory, and Central Coast Mariners vs Western Sydney Wanderers - as he casts his net wide in the short time he has before June’s World Cup.
“I’m happy to be here and to watch Friday, Saturday and Sunday the A-League and see the players and the level of the players here in Australia,” Van Marwijk told a large media contingent.
“Most players I know but to know them and see them is a big difference. I want to see them playing and in particular the player.
“When you analyse a team you have assistants and everybody watches a game but now I’m analysing players, which is something different.
“It’s a big challenge, especially because we have not so much time. I have to get to know the players, in a short time.
"That makes the challenge even bigger.”
This visit by van Marwijk provides a timely opportunity for Australian-based players to press their claims.
As for game situations, Van Marwijk’s first chance to assess will be two friendly matches in late March as Australia face Norway in Oslo and Colombia in London.
The former Saudi Arabia and Holland coach added he would prefer not to pick a larger squad for his first two games in charge.
"I don't like to nominate for those two games 30 players or something like that. I think it will be not much more than 23, 24, 25 players," he said.