June 14, 2015 11:38:46 UK
Preparing to win his 40th cap for Australia is a welcome positive for Mark Milligan, with his club future still unresolved.
Milligan is with the Socceroos squad ahead of the opening game of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Kyrgyzstan.
The innuendo and speculation is something I’ve been dealing with a lot over the past few years.
The last time the midfielder played in a competitive game for his country was arguably their all-time highlight as they beat South Korea in extra time in Sydney to win the Asian Cup in January.
Their opening qualifier is a stark contrast to that, as they go to Bishkek to face a team 113 places below them in the FIFA rankings.
Milligan says the key for the Socceroos is to take no team for granted, especially as they will find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings – they will go to Tajikistan and Bangladesh later in Group B.
“There will be no easy games, especially when you consider all the external factors – like travel, facilities and referees – that may play a part,” he added. “We just have to make sure we’re extremely well prepared for anything.”
Australia are 1.16 to beat Kyrgyzstan, who are 11.00 with the draw 6.00.
The 29-year-old says he won’t be distracted from the job in hand, even though he’s frustrated by not knowing where he will be playing his club football next season.
The Melbourne Victory captain looks certain to leave the A-League champions after a $1 million bid from Arabian Gulf League side Baniyas triggered a release clause in his contract.
Nothing’s been settled yet, though, with the clubs still negotiating over the deal. Milligan said: “The innuendo and speculation is something I’ve been dealing with a lot over the past few years and this transfer window, in that sense, has been no different.
“The transfer speculation has obviously come up a few times recently. But actually playing football, or being in camp, is my escape from that.”
The Socceroos are 7.00 to beat Kyrgyzstan 1-0.
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