ASIAN ADVENTURE AWAITS

He may not have joined his Glory team-mates as they returned to the training ground last week, but Michael Thwaite is certainly not escaping the rigours of pre-season.

He may not have joined his Glory team-mates as they returned to the training ground last week, but Michael Thwaite is certainly not escaping the rigours of pre-season.

After a brief weekend visit to Perth, the 30-year-old defender headed back to the east coast on Monday to link up once again with the Socceroos squad as they continue their preparations for the EAFF East Asian Cup.

Set to get underway in South Korea on 20th July, the week-long tournament will see Holger Osieck's side take on the host nation, holders China and regional powerhouse Japan and Thwaite is keen to make an impression as he bids to book his place in the squad for the 2014 World Cup.

"I'm not sure if the final squad (for the EAFF East Asian Cup) has been announced yet because we've still got some players overseas," he said, "but we've got another week in Sydney after a good week in Gosford. "It's been pretty tough. "We've been in camp for almost two months now, we've been having double sessions pretty much every day and we have a midweek game against local teams every week. "This tournament will be a good chance for the fringe players and the up-and-comers to prove themselves on the international stage. "We'll be playing three big games in one week, so I'm sure the whole squad of 23 will be used."

Once the tournament is over, Thwaite will return to the Glory fold as the preparations for the 2013-2014 Hyundai A-League season are ramped up and he is keenly aware that his form during that domestic campaign will determine whether he ends up securing a seat on next year's flight to Rio.

"It's long year between now and the World Cup," he said, "so you need to be playing regularly and playing well. "It's very helpful for me that Holger watches pretty much all of the A-League games. "I've had a little bit of interest from Asia, so there might be an option to play the whole A-League season and then perhaps make a move somewhere else to ensure that that I'm playing right up until the World Cup. "That said, extending the A-League until the end of April has certainly helped as it gives the Australian-based players the opportunity to keep playing until a lot closer to the start of the tournament."

Thwaite's Glory team-mates Scott Jamieson and Josh Risdon, meanwhile, were not retained in the squad after attending the initial training camp in Gosford, but the former Gold Coast man believes that his fellow-defenders were a touch unfortunate not to make the cut and that further international opportunities await them further down the track.

"It was always going to be hard for them," he said, "because they came off a long off-season straight into double sessions and then a game. "They've both been on the radar for a while now, especially Jamo with that left-back position up for grabs. "I think he'll definitely feature again at some point and the same goes for Riso."

Gareth Morgan