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Schwarzer hands on mantle

QUEENSLAND-born Mitch Langerak is one of three goalkeepers who will battle for a starting spot in the Socceroos line-up at next year's World Cup following yesterday's shock resignation of Mark Schwarzer.

Langerak, 25, the No.2 keeper at German side Borussia Dortmund, is next in line to follow in the footsteps of the Socceroos most-capped player, along with 21-year-old Mathew Ryan, who is starring for Club Brugges in Belgium, and Adelaide United's Eugene Galekovic, 32.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was informed of Schwarzer's decision to quit international football just hours before the announcement of the squad to face Costa Rica on November 19.

The coach paid tribute to 41-year-old Schwarzer, who played 109 times for Australia and made his debut against Canada in 1993.

"Mark was included in the squad but decided that he wanted to announce his retirement and not participate," Postecoglou said.

"I have utmost respect for his decision, which was his decision. It would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to one of the greats of the Socceroos. He was a great servant, always available to play for his national team. An absolute icon of the game."

 

Schwarzer, who moved from Fulham to Chelsea in the off-season, was a surprise omission from the Australian team for the recent friendlies against France and Canada.

Postecoglou said Schwarzer would be a hard to replace, but was confident the Socceroos would find someone to step into the void.

"There will be a hole," he said. "Mark's are enormous shoes to fill, but this is an opportunity for someone to do that."

Langerak has played seven times for Borussia Dortmund, including some games in the Champions League. He has won two caps for the Socceroos and will be hoping to add to that against Costa Rica.

Ryan has made 14 appearances for Brugges after signing for the Belgian club earlier this year.

Both were named in the squad to face Costa Rica, but Postecoglou said Galekovic also had a claim to be the new Socceroos No.1 choice.

"We have some excellent young goalkeepers," Postecoglou said.

"Mitch Langerak has done well, as has Mat Ryan in Belgium.

"This is an opportunity for both of them, but not just those two.

"Eugene Galekovic is a goalkeeper I rate highly and all I am offering is an opportunity and those two keepers get that this time."

FACT FILE

Mark Schwarzer

Age: 41

Born: Sydney

Internationals: 109

World Cups: 2006, 2010

Asian Cups: 2007, 2011

Topics:  football mark schwarzer