Thompson ready if Socceroos want him

May 22, 2008
By Guy Hand

Striker Archie Thompson says he desperately wants to be part of the Socceroos' World Cup tour of duty next month after a stunning injury comeback for his club Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.

Thompson produced a 30-minute cameo of high-end quality in the Victory's 3-1 win over Thailand's Chonburi FC in their Asian Champions League clash at Telstra Dome.

It was Thompson's first appearance since he was scythed down in a dreadful tackle and left with damaged knee ligaments during the Socceroos' World Cup qualifier against China in March.

But on Wednesday night, Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek watched on as the livewire striker single-handedly turned a match destined for a draw, breaking a 1-1 deadlock with a goal of his own just five minutes after being introduced as a second half substitute.

He then created another to show no signs of any lingering injury and emphatically put his hand up for selection for the four World Cup qualifiers starting in Brisbane on June 1.

Thompson said he had been in contact with Verbeek during the week when it became apparent he may make his comeback in the Victory's ACL dead rubber.

"He gave me a call the other day and wanted an update on how my injury was going," Thompson said of Verbeek.

"Hopefully he's seen enough there to warrant selection in the upcoming qualifiers which I'm desperately hoping for."

Thompson was not considered for Friday night's Socceroos friendly against Ghana in Sydney, but says he is fit enough to play a role against Iraq at Suncorp Stadium if asked.

The 29-year-old's reminder of his brilliance also steeled the Victory's resolve to ensure their marquee player is re-signed sooner rather than later as he enters the final year of his contract in 2008-09.

He would be hugely sought after by rival A-League clubs at the end of next season should he decide to put himself on the open market.

But the Victory want to ensure fan favourite Thompson finishes his career at a club he is revered at.

"He's a player we signed for four years early on and we need to re-sign for another four years," Victory coach Ernie Merrick said.

"It'll be a priority for us to keep Archie on board."