Ange dismisses Rangers talk as Socceroos crunch time looms

Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou dismissed speculation linking him with the vacant Rangers post ahead of Australia's World Cup play-off against Honduras.

 

Postecoglou's future is uncertain having refused to confirm whether he will remain at the helm if the Socceroos qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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The 52-year-old has since emerged as a possible replacement for Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked by the Scottish side last month.

But Postecoglou insisted he is solely focused on guiding Australia to next year's showpiece tournament as the Socceroos prepare for Friday's first leg of their inter-confederation play-off in San Pedro Sula.

"[It's] speculation, mate," Postecoglou said. "The only thing on my radar is these two games. That's where all my energy is, that's where all my focus is and that's what's most important.

"Anything on that is not even on my radar."

Postecoglou, who has continually fielded questions about his future after Australia's AFC play-off victory over Syria, added: "You can ask the question 20 different ways, you’ll get the same answer, 20 different versions of it.

"People are very interested in what happens if we qualify but I'm more interested in what happens if we don't qualify so it's in my interests to make sure that we do.

"My total headspace is around making sure we qualify for a World Cup, which I think is paramount at this point.

"The interest in whether I stay or not only becomes interesting to people if we qualify but no-one seems to be interested in what happens if we don't qualify — they're quite happy for me to walk out the door.

"If they're quite happy for me to walk out the door, why should I spend any time thinking about anything beyond that?"

Socceroos striker Tomi Juric broke ranks on Postecoglou's future, saying he can't see the coach leaving his post if Australia reach the World Cup.

Postecoglou's future has dominated pre-game talk. Pic: Getty

Juric is the only player in San Pedro Sula to have diverted from the same line as Postecoglou - that their full focus is on the qualifiers, and not his future.

The forward, who has grown to become Australia's first choice striker under Postecoglou, doesn't believe his coach would shirk the challenge.

"I just don't see it if we qualify - sorry, when we qualify - that he goes. I don't think that will happen," he said.

"His main goal is to prepare us for a World Cup (and) for opposition that are at a high level.

"I don't see him walking away from that big challenge.

"I think he's looking forward to the World Cup and making sure that we get there."

Australian captain Mile Jedinak said Juric's view was "logical" but pointed out that logic didn't always stand in football.

"Football is a funny game, it's never that straight forward," he said.

Jedinak - fit again for the first time since June - foreshadowed the potential for movement in the coaching position but said he was more interested in reaching Russia.

"It's about ... qualifying for the World Cup and then beyond that, keep building the profile of the game and keep building the profile of our Socceroos," he said.

"Ange has been a huge part of that in recent years. He's taken the group and progressed the group by a considerable amount.

"Seeing him at the forefront of that is a natural thing. That's all we know at the minute.

"But football is such a strange game that anything could happen."

With agencies

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