Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer has slammed Mitch Langerak’s controversial omission from Australia’s World Cup squad.
The decision to overlook in-form goalkeeper Langerak – who came out of international retirement at the request of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold for September’s two-match series against New Zealand – for the World Cup has been met with shock.
Langerak, who had another stellar season for his top-flight Japanese club Nagoya Grampus, was expected to be chosen along with skipper Mat Ryan and Andrew Redmayne as part of the Socceroos’ three-man World Cup goalkeeping brigade.
And while Ryan, no longer a first-team regular at Danish club Copenhagen, and Sydney FC’s Redmayne were selected, Langerak was snubbed, with veteran Central Coast Mariners gloveman Danny Vukovic – who like Ryan and Redmayne is a disciple of Socceroos goalkeeper coach John Crawley – instead getting the nod.
Langerak’s non-selection left Schwarzer, arguably the greatest Socceroos goalkeeper of all-time, flabbergasted and “bamboozled”.
“I’m in shock – I can’t understand it,” Schwarzer told Optus Sport’s GegenPod podcast.
“(Langerak is) the most in-form Australian goalkeeper playing at the highest level for the last two years minimum, and that’s not being disrespectful (to Mat Ryan).
“I’m a big fan of Maty Ryan. I think he’s done an incredible job, but he’s not playing consistently every week, and Mitch has been incredible.
“I just don’t get it. I really do not understand the logic behind him (Langerak) not being there.
“I’m not buying (the argument that) he retired, wasn’t involved and therefore it’s not fair on other people … it’s a World Cup.
“You can go through a list of players that are in the squad that played very little part in the qualification but are there going to the World Cup now.”
Schwarzer, who was capped 109 times for the Socceroos and played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, said Langerak being asked to come out of international retirement in September only to now be left out of the World Cup squad made the matter even worse.
“I wholeheartedly believe that Mitch has to be in that squad,” he said
“It’s not even close. I don’t think you can say it was a really tight call. For me, it has to be Maty and Mitch as number one and two and then there’s a decision to make on who you have at number three.”
Schwarzer said the injury concern over Ryan, who is battling a knee problem, was another reason why Langerak should in the squad.
“I don’t understand why you don’t have your very next best goalkeeper ready to play,” he said.
“It’s not like (Langerak’s) not professional. I know Mitch … he’s a top guy.
“You don’t get to the level you’re at and play in Japan, where it’s very disciplined and professional, without doing all the right things.
“I don’t know a person who has a bad thing to say about Mitch.”