Mark Schwarzer is determined to achieve success with Australia at this month’s Asian Cup but admitted leaving Fulham in the middle of their fight for Barclays Premier League survival was far from ideal.
The Cottagers currently lie one point above the drop zone and boss Mark Hughes has already resigned himself to losing his number one keeper for the remainder of the month.
Should Australia reach the final of the tournament that would mean Schwarzer will miss four Premier League games.
Hughes had been banking on the Socceroos crashing out at the group stage but following a dominant 4-0 win over India yesterday – during which Schwarzer was a virtual spectator – that appears to be a highly unlikely scenario.
And Schwarzer admitted he was left torn between leaving his club behind in a difficult situation whilst also wanting to achieve success with his country.
The 38-year-old said: “It is never ideal at this time of year to be missing Premier League games, especially with Fulham in the precarious situation they are in.
“In an ideal world I would like to have stayed but also play in this tournament. I want to be in two places at once.
‘It would have been great if there was a window we could play this tournament in but unfortunately that is not the case. I have been here in the summer; it is not pleasant and not easy to play in so this is the logical time to play it and unfortunately it clashes with club football.”
Australia team-mates Tim Cahill and Brett Emerton are in the same boat as Schwarzer, as they miss out on key games for Everton and Blackburn respectively.
And though Schwarzer admitted all three players’ clubs were reluctant to lose their players, they were understanding of their need to play for their country.
“It has not happened before for us Australian players,” he added.
“It is the first time that we as players have missed out on club football due to an international tournament, but overall I think our clubs are okay with the situation.”