Australia No.1 Mark Schwarzer is yet to agree a new deal at Fulham and could leave the club if an agreement over his status next season is not reached
|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
Fulham manager Martin Jol will not guarantee Mark Schwarzer a starting position at the English Premier League club next season but has not given up keeping the goalkeeper at Craven Cottage.
Jol's comments are not a great sign for the Australia's' potential World Cup campaign in Brazil next year, as Schwarzer - now 40 - could find it hard to find a new club, while the next generation of goalkeepers have yet to reach the heights of the Socceroos' current No.1.
Speaking after Fulham's 3-0 win over Swansea on the final day of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Jol revealed Schwarzer had rejected a contract offer from the London club because he wanted a guarantee he would be the No.1 goalkeeper next season.
The long-time Socceroos goalkeeper has played five seasons with Fulham, making over 30 league appearances each campaign, but Jol's comments imply the two parties are far from an agreement.
"We offered Mark a new contract but the only thing is he wanted to be guaranteed to be the number one and that is not easy as we need a goalkeeper anyway," Jol said on Sunday.
The situation is complicated due to the form of one of Fulham's other goalkeepers, David Stockdale, who has spent the past season with Championship club Hull City.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper played 26 matches for Hull City as they were promoted to the Premier League and Jol may be tempted to try the younger gloveman ahead of Schwarzer next season.
But after watching Schwarzer put in a brilliant performance during Sunday's victory over Swansea, Jol has not given up hope the veteran Australian will sign a new deal.
"We will sit down with Mark and try to find a solution," he said.
"Hopefully we will find a resolution.
"We won 3-0 and he was very good.
"It would have been different if he had not been there but you have to compete and fight for your place.
"He wants almost a guarantee to be No.1 but if we cannot find a solution we need to get a very good goalkeeper because you need to be very good to be better than, or the same, as him."
While Schwarzer was in fine form against Swansea, the Australian has looked slightly shaky this season, conceding more goals for Fulham in the Premier League than in any other campaign since he joined the London club.
Schwarzer picked the ball out of his net 57 times in his 36 Premier League appearances this season, with his previous worst performance coming in the 2009-10 campaign (45 goals conceded in 37 games).