The clearly past his prime skipper has rejected calls to retire after two matches at the heart of a defence that’s conceded six goals in each.
In a press conference promoting the Canada game at Craven Cottage, Neill questioned the commitment of the younger players in the team in what Slater called “quite possibly the worst captains’ interview … I’ve ever seen”.
The Canada game is a chance for the Socceroos to begin their rebuilding phase ahead of the Brazil World Cup after the sacking of Holger Osieck following the side’s 6-0 in Paris.
Instead, Neill went on the defensive on behalf of the underfire veterans in the side who may have stuck around too long.
“The biggest problem in Australia right now is not the older guys who have been there doing it for a long time,” Neill said.
Slater, a pundit for Fox Sports, said Neill’s “disgraceful” words are a sign that “he’s not seeing things clear and he’s not seeing the reality.”
Slater also said Neill should move on from international football.
“Lucas is in the survival mode,” Slater said. “He has a siege mentality … and he’s living in a cocoon. He’s not seeing things clear and he’s not seeing the reality.
“The Australian public have said enough about what has happened.”
No Neill has created a divide between the new and old guard that will be a challenge to bridge – Slater believes an Australian coach, such as favourite Ange Postecoglou, would be best played to take on that tough task.
Aurelio Vidmar is in charge of the side tonight.
“The football family demands an Australian football coach … we need an Australian coach that is going to feel the pain and pull the squad together,” Slater said.
“That squad is torn apart … If it wasn’t before because of the results, it will be now because of what the captain has said.
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