Mariners quartet eye Asian glory

Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League trio Sam Gallagher, Marc Warren and Mustafa Amini, along with National Youth League starlet and Nikola Stanojevic have their eyes firmly on success at the AFC Under 19 Championships in Zibo, China, next month, after joining the Qantas Young Socceroos squad today.

Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League trio Sam Gallagher, Marc Warren and Mustafa Amini, along with National Youth League starlet and Nikola Stanojevic have their eyes firmly on success at the AFC Under 19 Championships in Zibo, China, next month, after joining the Qantas Young Socceroos squad today.

"It-s always an honour to represent my country so I-m really excited again to be called up for the team," said Gallagher.

"This is a big one this one because we have to make the World Cup so I-m pretty pumped to go out and do well for Australia."

The four inclusions make the Mariners, along with Sydney FC the best represented clubs in the 23 player squad, and it could have been five representatives from the Yellow and Navy, had Trent Sainsbury not been ruled out because of a knee injury.

Gallagher believes the Mariners will ultimately be major beneficiaries of the quality of football the players experience while they are fighting for a berth at the 2011 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Colombia, an honour bestowed to the top four finishers in China.

"It-s great news for the club and for the young boys to be called up for the team. It will be a great experience for them as well and it shows that the Mariners are going well because the young boys are doing so well.

"The A-League is tough to get into for young boys to get a gig, but to experience the different cultures and different styles of football, it brings a whole new aspect to the game, and to take away the experience of playing teams like Brazil ore even teams lie the UAE, it-s a great experience and it can only benefit your football," said Gallagher.

The Qantas Young Socceroos begin preparations for the tournament with a training camp in Sydney starting today, which will continue in Hong Kong next week, before jetting out for China ahead of their opening game against Yemen on Monday, 4 October.

"It-s always going to be tough but I-m rating our chances at the moment, I think we can do really well with the team we have. We should do well and we should go through to the World Cup, that-s our goal and our expectation at the moment, so if we go into the tournament (with that mindset) we should do really well," said Gallagher.

Gallagher, along with his three Mariners teammates have all had experience within the national team environment in the past. The 20-year-old former Manly United and Sydney FC left-back was part of the Qantas Young Socceroos squad that contested the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Egypt last year.

"Being at that World Cup was an experience of a lifetime even though I hadn-t been with that group (for the qualification campaign), now that I get to be with this group all the way through it will make it even more special to make the World Cup. I can have a real go this time being one of the main guys," said Gallagher.

Meantime, Mariners midfielder Oliver Bozanic played the full 90 minutes in oppressive conditions as temperatures soared above 30 degrees and with humidity nudging 90%, as the Qantas Olyroos went down 1-nil to DPR Korea in their four nations international tournament in Vietnam.