Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has revealed he could leave English Premier League club Fulham as a free agent at the end of the upcoming season.
Since moving to the London club last season, the 36-year-old has been in imperious form for both club and country, inspiring Fulham to a Europa League place and Australia to qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Speaking to The World Game, the shot-stopper said he hadn’t spoken with the club about a new deal, with his current one set to expire in the next European summer.
“We haven’t spoken about a new deal yet and while I’m extremely happy at a club that’s given me a new lease on life, there is a possibility I could move on a free transfer at the end of my contract,” Schwarzer said.
“I haven’t ruled anything in or out. My main priority right now is to push through to the next World Cup.
“If I’m still on top of my game and enjoying things, then of course I will look to continue at the top level for at least another year beyond that.”
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, insists that Schwarzer is not in danger of leaving the club, stating that the Cottagers are determined to keep hold of their star man.
Despite the fact that the ‘keeper will be 37 by the end of the World Cup finals next year, Hodgson is keen to keep hold of Schwarzer, believing that the tournament in South Africa will keep his hunger for the game alive.
Indeed, the former Finland and Switzerland boss believes that the Socceroos will give a strong account of themselves at their third World Cup, depending on the result of the draw.
“Australia will always do well,” Hodgson said. “They are strong, well organized and have players, like the Americans, who have great attitudes.
“How well they do will depend on the draw. If they get teams at a similar level in their group they will have a great chance.”
Hodgson and his Fulham side are currently in Australia ahead of the August start to the English Premier League season. They are set to face Gold Coast United on Wednesday evening, before taking on Melbourne Victory three days later and then Perth Glory on July 15, as part of their pre-season preparations.
Schwarzer has also returned to Australia to play despite a gruelling qualifying campaign with the Socceroos – a testament to his character, according to his Fulham manager.
However, Hodgson has warned that the “iconic” goalkeeper might not play three full games as a result of fatigue.
He continued, “He’s an iconic figure in Australian football and of course all concerned wanted to see him play these games on home soil.
“But it would be very unfair on him to expect him to play 95 minutes every time we play.
“He has another long season in front of him, you have to remember.”