According to Australia's coach, his Chelsea counterpart offered the veteran shot-stopper assurances about how much he will play in the campaign ahead
Holger Osieck says Jose Mourinho has guaranteed Mark Schwarzer time on the pitch next season, but the German nevertheless predicted a tight race for the Socceroos' number one spot in Brazil next year.
Schwarzer, 40, is Australia's established first-choice goalkeeper, but there are concerns he will find himself on the bench for much of 2013-14 after moving to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer.
According to conversations between Osieck and his veteran shot-stopper, Chelsea manager Mourinho offered assurances during negotiations that Schwarzer would get his fair share of time between the posts.
"What he [Schwarzer] told me was when he agreed to sign for Chelsea, his signature was based on conversations with Mourinho, that he obviously promised to give him sufficient playing time because of the great number of games Chelsea has to play, in the league, in various cups and of course in Europe," Osieck said.
"Mark was very confident that there was a lot of honesty in Mourinho's words."
Osieck selected Nathan Coe, Mark Birighitti and Eugene Galekovic for the East Asian Cup in Seoul this month, with the latter member of that trio playing the first two games and excelling against South Korea.
Coe flew back to Australia last week for Melbourne Victory's exhibition match against Liverpool, who fielded a Socceroo custodian of their own in Brad Jones.
They are among a host of players pushing for Schwarzer's spot, including Reading's Adam Federici, Mitch Langerak of Borussia Dortmund and Mat Ryan, who switched from Central Coast to Belgian side Club Brugge at the end of last season.
"I have three goalkeepers here and a couple more [to chose from]," Osieck said.
"Langerak, with all his talent, he needs to play. He's definitely a good keeper. Maty Ryan obviously made the first team of [Club] Brugge. Then we have a couple more in England, there's Federici and Jones and then we have the domestic boys here. Mark Birighitti has shown promise and Nathan Coe had a good game against Liverpool.
"Eugene has already showed what he can do, in particular the first game, when he was outstanding.
"So it's going to be a tight race."Goal Australia has its own and account, so for all the latest news and features on Australian football follow us by clicking on the above links