Socceroos hopefuls Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski will arrive in the United Kingdom on Monday to start training with Fulham ahead of the World Cup in a move engineered by Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
According to Burns, Fulham No.1 Schwarzer used his influence at the club to convince manager Roy Hodgson to allow the two Glory midfielders to train with the Cottagers’ senior group in the lead-up to June’s World Cup finals.
Burns and Sterjovski were previously part of Australia’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign but have only featured sporadically in the Australian side since crossing from Europe to Perth Glory last July.
Further complicating matters, Australian coach Pim Verbeek has declared that no Australian player would be considered for World Cup selection unless they have maintained their fitness by playing with another club until the regular European season finishes in May.
But with the Hyundai A-League finishing in March, Burns said Verbeek gave Australian-based players the all clear to simply train with another club, after attempts by himself and Sterjovski to find suitable loan deals fell through.
"(We’re) going to spend five weeks there with Fulham, basically keep fit and get a whole lot of good training in," said Burns.
"They’re having a fantastic run at the minute and yeah, just lucky that they’re going to take me and Mile Serjovski on and (we’ve) got a fellow Socceroo in Mark Schwarzer there, who’s been fantastic throughout and really it’s come about through him."
"Throughout the season, there was a lot of talk about us going on loan to the likes of Asia."
"To be honest, both Mile and myself knocked back offers to go to Asia for longer periods than just the few months leading up to the World Cup," Burns added, revealing such loans would have impacted on them coming back to the Glory in time for next season.
"Then we caught wind of players maybe going to train in Europe to stay fit and if that was good enough and basically we had Pim’s blessing to go to a top European club and keep training."
"Schwarzer has gone in there for us and gave us a good wrap and Roy Hodgson there is a fantastic manager and he’s agreed to it also … so we’re forever in his debt for having us there "