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Former West Ham, Blackburn captain Neill denies any wrongdoing

Australian national team captain Lucas Neill has denied that he had any input into a pre-game talk prior to a World Cup game. The former West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Everton and Galatasaray defender has been accused of rebelling against ex-Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup opener against Germany by telling his teammates not to play with the Dutchman's plan.

Broadcaster Les Murray wrote in his book, The World Game, that Neill asked Verbeek to leave the dressing room so he could address the players just moments before the 4-0 loss to the Germans, asking them to go against Verbeek's 'bullsh!t' tactics.

But Neill has defended himself, saying that there was no such incident.

"I'm on holiday and absolutely shocked by this," he told Fox Sports News by phone from the US this morning. "I'm a little bit angry.

"It's clearly not true from my point of view and easy to quantify. I'd like to know how it came about? If it's just a way to sell a book then so be it - I've seen it done before.

"But I don't want it to be me, and my name, and my reputation and all the hard work that we try to do for football, to be probably looking bad in public opinion at the moment which is not what I want.

"Because it was a year ago, you wrack your brains trying to remember what happened but clearly, what's been read to me - because I haven't even read it myself - is just stunning.

"I'm trying to get hold of Mark Schwarzer now because we were talking before the game about how we were going to approach it.

"And in the end Schwarzie started talking in the changing room before the game and before we knew it, it was time to go out.

"I didn't actually get to give my captain's speech, which the boys will tell you is something I like to do before the game.

"So on that particular night, I didn't even get to make a speech."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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