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Viduka back on Verbeek's radar

Newcastle United striker Mark Viduka is back on Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek's radar. Viduka returned to competitive football on the weekend after six months out with an Achilles injury, making an impressive 25 minute cameo against former club Middlesbrough.

Verbeek plans to include the 33-year old in his squad to travel to Yokohama in February.

"It's only a start for him. It's his first game and a good beginning," Verbeek said from the Netherlands.

"To have him again fit and well is a big thing for us, but it is only a first step.

"He's always told me his focus is on the next World Cup and to have him available as an extra option for the many games ahead is very good for Australian football because he brings us something very different.

"So far, I'm very pleased at how well my strikers have been playing (in his absence) but when Mark is available you cannot ignore the possibilities it brings to the team.

''Having him on the radar again back adds something extra. He's a different player to say Josh Kennedy, or Scott McDonald, or Bruce Djite or Brett Holman. He has great qualities and great experience.

"Let's hope he can stay fit. That would make life so much easier for us.

"There are a lot of games to come and it would be good to get him involved again. But this is just the start (of his comeback). Let's wait and see what happens."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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