Newcastle striker Mark Viduka has vowed to return to international action with Australia once he regains full fitness.
The 33-year-old striker has not played this season after being plagued by an Achilles injury which will see him miss Wednesday’s World Cup qualifying fixture with Qatar.
But Viduka, who has scored 11 goals in 43 internationals, joined up with the squad at the team hotel and stated his wish to return to boost Australia’s bid for a second successive World Cup appearance, dismissing suggestions he might quit the Socceroos.
“Of course I want to play for Australia again – it’s something that’s never out of my mind,” said Viduka, who has not played for Australia since July last year.
“But it’s a step-by-step process and the first stage is to get back playing for my club again.
“I’ve got to be 100% fit and 100% sure in my mind that my heel is strong enough. When that happens I’ll be back for Australia.”
Viduka was accompanied by Newcastle physio James Murphy, who has been working with Australia team counterpart Phil Coles to treat the former Celtic and Middlesbrough frontman.
Murphy delivered an optimistic prognosis.
“Surgery is not considered necessary,” said Murphy, adding that Viduka is now almost pain free.