Australia veteran Lucas Neill has defended his criticism of the younger members of the squad following last month’s defeat to France, claiming that he was trying to motivate them to make improvements as they look towards next summer’s world cup.

Neill’s comments suggesting that the younger generation lacked pride in the Socceroos jersey came on the back of consecutive 6-0 defeats to Brazil and France respectively, which saw former coach Holger Osieck relieved of his position and replaced by Ange Postecoglou.

The Socceroos may have salvaged some pride in their most recent fixture, a 3-0 defeat of Canada, but Neill stands by what he said. “It was a motivational technique that was used to get everybody to realise just how much pride you need to put into this shirt because we are the lucky ones,” the 35 year old said.

Neill, who plays in the J-League for Omiya Ardija, is currently training with the Australia squad ahead of another friendly against Costa Rica next week and whilst it remains to be seen whether or not he will retain the captain’s armband, or indeed add to his 95 caps, he is certainly under no illusions about how lucky he has been.

“There’s 22.9 million other people who cannot play for Australia, and never will, and can only dream and support us, we’re the lucky ones and we have to make sure we don’t take that for granted,” the former Blackburn Rovers man said.

Following recent results, fans of football betting would be wise to consider whether or not they fancy Australia’s chances at next summer’s World Cup. Anyone who likes a safe bet on football on the bet365 website will surely not be backing them to advance beyond the group stages.

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