Wilkshire believes Confederations Cup could lift young Australia side

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The World Cup veteran is hoping the stiff competition in Russia in 2017 will lead to big things for a young Socceroos side

Luke Wilkshire believes that the young players Australia are taking to the 2017 Confederations Cup can learn plenty from their experience against some of the top sides in the world. 

The full-back was part of an Australia Confederations Cup team in 2005 and, while he didn't see the pitch in the competition, he feels that being there with the team acted as "a springboard" for him. 

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"For 10-12 years, almost everyone in the national team played in the top European leagues: in England, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands," Wilkshire told FIFA.com. 

"Now a lot of guys play in Australia. Maybe the Confederations Cup will be a springboard for some of the young players, like it was for me."

The country has a positive history with the competition, having finished as runners-up in 1997 after losing to Brazil, and placing third in the 2001 edition. 

And the former Dynamo Moscow defender believes his nation could be up for pulling a shock in the 2017 version of the tournament. 

"It’s actually great that so many good teams qualified," he said. "By playing against Germany, Chile and Cameroon, we’ll be able to see where we are in our development.

"Australia haven’t beaten a top country for a while, so why not now? Our national team is never afraid of anybody, so they can spring another surprise at the Confederations Cup."

Tim Cahill Australia

While the makeup of the Austalia side is different now than in years past, the team is still relying on the services of former Everton star Tim Cahill, who is the leading scorer for his country in World Cup qualifying. 

Wilkshire believes the 37-year-old still has a part to play and is an icon, but hasn't taken over as the top player in the history of the country. 

"It’s hard to turn your back on such a great footballer," said Wilkshire. "Throughout his career, he has been a genius in the air. Just look at his neck – that’s all power.

"Nowadays, Tim comes off the bench more often than not, but he only needs ten minutes to score the decisive goal by planting his head on a cross.

"Cahill is a real icon, but I’d say the best footballer in Australian history is Harry Kewell. He had a unique way of striking the ball, the same technique that separates the superstars from just good players. Harry could decide the outcome of any game on his own."

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