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Milligan happy to play second fiddle

January 15, 2015 12:08:26 UK

Mark Milligan is philosophical about his potential return to the bench for Australia’s final Group A clash at the Asian Cup on Saturday.

The Melbourne Victory midfielder made a rare competitive start for the Socceroos in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Oman, coming in for injured skipper Mile Jedinak. He played well and scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 just after the hour mark in Sydney.

I’m just happy to be here and help the team as much as possible when called upon.

Mark Milligan

Milligan and the rest of the squad are in the dark, though, about who will be picked for Saturday’s clash with South Korea in Brisbane. If Jedinak is passed fit, it’s virtually certain the Crystal Palace star will come back into the starting line-up to leave Milligan hoping for an impact role off the bench.

It’s a role he’s become used to, as he has been in the squad for the past three World Cups but only played in one match.

Milligan said: “I’m just happy to be here and help the team as much as possible when called upon … I don’t mind playing second fiddle to the captain.

“The way I am at the moment, the age I’m at or where I’m at in my headspace, being involved for such a long time, I truly see this as a real opportunity to be successful, to go on and win some silverware. The important thing for me is that we continue to improve and we go a long way in this tournament.”

Coach Ange Postecoglou has cautioned that Jedinak may well not have recovered from his swollen ankle – suffered in the opening 4-1 victory against Kuwait – in time to face South Korea in a match that will decide top spot in the group.

Australia are 1.90 to beat South Korea, who are 4.33 to come out on top, with the draw 3.40.

If the Socceroos win or draw, they will face the Group B runners-up – either Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan – in the knockout phase, while a defeat would see them take on China.

Australia are 3.25 to win the Asian Cup outright.

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