Popovic a Socceroos contender as FFA approach Wanderers

The coach of the reigning premiers has joined Ange Postecoglou as a confirmed target of Football Federation Australia to take over the vacant national team job
Tony Popovic has confirmed Football Federation Australia [FFA] has approached Western Sydney Wanderers to inform them he is on the short-list to take over the Socceroos.

Popovic, along with Central Coast Mariners' title-winning coach Graham Arnold and Melbourne Victory's Ange Postecoglou, are the main contenders to take over from the sacked Holger Osieck.

"We as a club have just been informed that I'm in contention, that's all we've had, which is obviously a great honour to be seen in this way," Popovic said at Wanderers training on Friday.

"I've always maintained that one day I'd certainly love to coach the Socceroos if given the opportunity.

"As a player when I started out my dream was to play for the Socceroos and I was lucky enough to do that.

"And if that opportunity comes, when the time is right, then I'd certainly look into it."

Pressed on whether he feels he is ready now after just one year as a professional head coach, a coy Popovic replied: "There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether the time is right, a lot of variables, it's not just one thing. And if all those boxes get ticked, then yes, if not then no."

"It's not just whether I want it or whether my employer [the Wanderers] will allow it or whether the FFA wants me.

"There are many, many more and if all those boxes got ticked then the time is right.

"I'm honoured to be a contender but my focus is just on the Wanderers. I'm very focused on that and very happy with what I'm doing."

The 40-year-old said he hasn't had any direct contact from FFA chairman Frank Lowy or CEO David Gallop about the role.

Popovic added when asked about the current state of the Socceroos ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil: "We're going through a tough time at the moment with the national team.

"It's very hard to assess comments from the outside, it's easy to do but without being there you don't really know the ins and outs and what's going on, so it's really hard to make a proper assessment there."

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