Ex-West Ham, Blackburn skipper Neill: I'm in charge of the Socceroos crèche!
Australian national team captain Lucas Neill feels like he is currently overseeing the Socceroos crèche as he and his younger teammates prepare for a double header.
The Aussies meet Malaysia in Canberra on Friday night in a friendly before backing up with a World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on Tuesday and Neill hopes the inexperienced group can step up and get the desired results.
"I kind of feel like I'm looking after the crèche at the moment," Neill told Fox Sports FC of the squad that is without veterans Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill, Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell.
"Sasa (Ognenovski) and I are probably the older heads in the group; but we've got such exciting young lads.
"We've got some fantastic people that have come in. They need to take their opportunity now.
"You've got an experienced guy like Tim Cahill, who is week in week out in the Premier League. Now you've got guys who can prove themselves and need to continue or start playing in some of these big clubs."
But Neill says it is not such a bad thing as it can expose some talented Australian players to life on the international circuit and make them better players for the experience.
"You've got to accept it. It's natural progression, but the good thing is we've got that conveyer belt now where one goes and one comes in," Neill added.
"That can be said for a lot of positions across the team.
"(It's) great for Australia; just not great for the individuals apart from the fact it creates great atmosphere, chemistry and competition for places."