Boost to the A-League

SOCCEROOS star Jason Culina has struck a blow for the domestic A-League by declaring his decision to leave Europe and join Gold Coast will have no impact on his chances with the national team.

Coach Pim Verbeek has made no secret of his desire for his players to ply their trade in Europe, and expressed fears about Culina finishing his season more than three months before the start of the World Cup.

But Culina, who will leave his Dutch club PSV Eindhoven to become Gold Coast's marquee player later this year, said: “I've made the decision and Pim stands by it. I'm happy with it. It won't affect my (Socceroo) chances at all.”

“Pim made it clear very early on where he prefers his players to be playing,” said Culina.

“But ultimately I've made the decision to come back. That's something I always wanted to do.”

The highly-rated midfielder is unfazed by the long gap between the end of the A-League season next March and the start of the World Cup in South Africa in June.

“I'm not worrying about it too much at all,” he said.

“My first focus is on my new club Gold Coast, to have a good season and hopefully win things with Gold Coast. Then we can worry about other things after that.”

It was that time gap that helped left-back Scott Chipperfield make up his mind to stay with Swiss club FC Basel for another year before returning to the A-League.

Chipperfield, who had talks with North Queensland, Central Coast and Newcastle, said he was aware of Verbeek's views, and believed his best chance of playing in another World Cup was to stay in Europe.

Another Socceroo to heed Verbeek's words is newcomer Mile Jedinak, who has settled in well at Turkish club Genclerbirligi.



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