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Monday, January 3, 2011
Socceroos' Schwarzer keen to play on

Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has no plans to make the Asian Cup his international swan song, saying he's keen to continue playing for Australia beyond this month's tournament in Qatar.

The 38-year-old Fulham shot stopper says he still has the desire and form to continue playing for his country.

"I've got no plans to retire as yet," Schwarzer told AAP after arriving in Socceroos camp in Dubai.

"I feel that I'm still as fit as ever and like to think I'm playing well enough to still warrant selection.

"As long as the manger still wants me to play for the national team and as long as I feel the desire and hunger to continue. I want to continue.

"I feel that I'm playing still some of the best football in my career and as long as I'm doing that and enjoying it as much as I am, I want to keep going."

Schwarzer, Australia's oldest international, has 82 Socceroos caps and needs only six more to surpass Alex Tobin's record of 87 A Internationals, a feat likely to be achieved if Australia progress to the semi-finals in Qatar.

The gloveman said he hoped to play a part when Australia faces UAE in a friendly in Al Ain on Wednesday (0130 AEDT Thursday).

"We've only one game to prepare for the tournament, so I would have thought a large core of the players that will start the first game (of the Asian Cup) will be involved," Schwarzer said.

"We need to hit out strides and it would be a good time to start against UAE."

Schwarzer admitted it was hard to leave his English Premier League club struggling in the relegation zone but backed them to bounce back in his absence.

The bulk of Australia's 23-man squad has arrived in Dubai and is due to hold their first training session on Monday night (Tuesday morning AEDT).

Australia's Asian Cup campaign kicks off against India on January 10 at Al Sadd Stadium in Doha.




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