GREEN and GOLD for THWAITE

Our star defender Michael Thwaite is named in Socceroos squad.

Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite has paid tribute to his club team-mates and coaching staff following his inclusion in the Socceroos squad announced earlier today.

Coach Holger Osieck has selected the 29-year-old alongside established regulars including Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshire and fellow-Hyundai A-League representatives Tom Rogic, Aziz Behich, Mat Ryan and Archie Thompson in a 19-man party for next Wednesday-s friendly clash with Korea Republic in Hwaseong.

“It-s a very pleasant surprise,” said Thwaite.

“I-ve had a few opportunities under Holger (Osieck), but only been on the bench so hopefully I can get some good game time.

“He-s got a keen interest in the A-League players and I think there are five of us in the squad and it seems to be a full-strength squad, so I guess I-ve got to give credit to the coaching staff here at Perth Glory.

“They-ve changed my game a little bit playing at centre-back and I want to thank the players around me as well.

“Playing with Jamo (Scott Jamieson) at left-back, I think we-re building a really good relationship down that side and credit to all the Glory players.

“When you-re playing in a top team with top players, you automatically lift and it-s a pleasure to be playing with the likes of those players here in Perth.”

The former Gold Coast United man will be hoping to add to his tally of six full caps, having represented his country at Under-20 and Under-23 level before making his senior debut in a 2005 friendly victory over Jamaica.

Since that 5-0 demolition of the Reggae Boyz at Fulham-s Craven Cottage, he has been included in squads picked by Frank Farina, Guus Hiddink, Graham Arnold, Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck and is a big admirer of the man currently occupying the Socceroos hot-seat.

“I-ve been in the squad for about six years and only won six caps so I-ve probably got the record for the most appearances in squads,” he joked.

“I-ve played under every coach since Frank Farina and as a 29-year-old you build from those experiences.

“I-ve got a lot of respect for Holger and not just because he-s picked me!

“I like his mentality, I like the structure he plays and hopefully I can give something a little bit different to the team.”

But while admitting that the thought of representing his country at a World Cup continues to drive him, Thwaite insisted that he wasn-t looking beyond what will be a stern test against a strong Korean side on Wednesday.

“I think every boy-s dream is to play in a World Cup,” he said.

“I-ve missed out on two for a couple of political reasons overseas and it would be a dream to play in one.

“But at the end of the day it-s a friendly match against South Korea and I-m sure he (Osieck) is looking for performances for the next qualifying games in December for the East Asian Cup and for the World Cup qualifiers next year.”

Shane Smeltz, meanwhile, will also be involved in international friendly action next midweek after being included in New Zealand-s squad to face China in Shanghai despite not having played any club football since returning from the last international break with a hamstring tear.

Last season-s top scorer is in contention for Sunday-s clash with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium after resuming full training earlier this week and neither he nor Thwaite will miss any Glory games due to their international commitments.