Experience, Youthfulness To Determine W/Cup Team – Lagerback

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Super Eagles Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback says a combination of experience and youthfulness will determine the choice of players for his final 23-man list for the World Cup.

The players will be chosen from his current 45 short listed players.

Lagerback told a news conference at the weekend in Abuja on the selection of the national team for the South Africa 2010 mundial that he was not foreclosing his mind on the choice of players.

The Sweden born coach was appointed on February 27 to take charge of the team for the event from June 11 to July 11.

Lagerback said the most important thing for him now was to have players who would not lose concentration and combine individual skills with team organisation.

“It is not impossible to have new and young players in the team, but we have to realise that experience will be a factor, especially in facing group opponents, Argentina.

“The 45-man team I have short listed is not closed for now, because there is still room for a few new ones who can still come up either from the domestic front or other sources.

Lagerback, who was at the news conference with his Swede assistant Roland Andersson, said he had, soon after taking up the appointment, concentrated on planning how to tackle his job.

“I have been doing this with Andersson, my Nigerian assistants, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), and it has been a smooth relationship with lots of support and analysis.

“For example, we have analysed most of the competitive and friendly matches Nigeria played in 2009, and earlier this year, and I can see we have detailed planning to do.

“For now, we will want to see the players in action, even though we know a lot about them, but we need to see them and let them know our philosophy,’’ he said.

The technical adviser, who confirmed that he had yet to visit any of the Nigerian players in Europe, said he was still going to look at more players.

He declared: “We are still assessing them, especially some of the home-based players I saw against DR Congo during the March 3 friendly in Abuja.

“I will look at them again against Niger Republic in Kano (yesterday).”

Lagerback said he was not going to select his 23-man final team without considering the players just recovering from injuries.

“We are going to do this with an open mind, and I am not closing my door against those just returning from injuries. We will have two weeks to assess them in training and friendlies.

“The major thing is to have players with the winning mentality, who will do the job in South Africa effectively,’’ he added.

The Swede also said that he was not going to rule out any player from his team on the basis of where he was playing his football.

“We are going to work with an open mind. It won’t matter where the player is. We will value them as individuals and based on what they can do,’’ he said.