Sport Football Jones welcomes three-way fight for Socceroos gloves

Jones welcomes three-way fight for Socceroos gloves

Brad Jones Socceroos
The 36-year-old Jones is the oldest player in the Australia squad. Photo: Getty
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Veteran goalkeeper Brad Jones has hailed the three-way fight to wear the Socceroos’ gloves in next week’s friendly against Kuwait.

First-choice keeper Mat Ryan was this week ruled out of the international to manage an undisclosed injury suffered with Brighton in the English Premier League.

And it’s opened the door for Jones, Mitchell Langerak and Danny Vukovic to stake their claims for spots in the Asian Cup tournament in January.

“We have a great group of ‘keepers at the moment,” said Jones, during preparations for the friendly in Dubai.

“The training level is always high because it is natural that you’re competing against the guys in training.

The former Liverpool gloveman said it was important there is strong camaraderie among the goalkeepers in the squad.

“In the past you’ve had fractious competition where it creates a problem,” he said.

“We certainly don’t have that. We are in there working towards one goal. It is enjoyable to come in and train hard. That’s the best way to look at it.”

Jones, who at 36 is the oldest player in Graham Arnold’s squad, has enjoyed a fruitful move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr FC after a long career in Europe.

He has started in five of seven games for the undefeated club in the Pro League.

“The team’s performed really well. It’s a good standard,” Jones said.

“This year they’ve changed the foreign rule from three players to eight players. There’s a lot of players that have come in and the league’s definitely grown with it.

“We’ve had seven matches, seven wins, so I couldn’t wish for a better start. Life in Saudi is good. My family moved over, the kids are in school and it’s going well.”

Langerak is the No.1 for struggling Nagoya Grampus in Japan, while Vukovic’s Genk outfit in Belgium is top of the table.

– AAP