Tony Popovic talks to his players at a training session.
Tony Popovic talks to his players at a training session. DAVID MOIR

Popovic throws hat in Roos ring: I want to lead them

TONY Popovic has sensationally thrown his name into the mix to take over as Socceroos coach amid growing speculation he is facing the axe at Turkish club Karabukspor.

The former Western Sydney Wanderers boss is set to lose his job after the club were knocked out of the Turkish Cup and having lost eight straight Super League matches.

Karabukspor sit six points adrift of safety at the foot of the Turkish league, but Popovic said that has not dulled his interest of coaching his country.

"That's something I ultimately want to do,” Popovic said.

"You start off as a footballer and you dream of playing for your country and in the highest leagues. You start coaching and you dream of coaching at the highest level.

"I have goals and I want to coach my country, I want to lead them. But now this is part of the journey I want to focus on. I don't know when the right time is.

Tony Popovic has confirmed he is keen to coach the Socceroos.
Tony Popovic has confirmed he is keen to coach the Socceroos. SAM MOOY

"I didn't expect to be in Turkey a week out from the (A-League) season but you get a call and you're in Turkey. I certainly wouldn't rule it out. If I get a call, if I said I'd say no, I'd be lying.”

The news of Popovic's imminent sacking follows news of the entire Karabukspor board resigning, the same people who appointed the former Socceroos defender.

Popovic turned down offers to coach in Asia, opting to stay with Western Sydney Wanderers until the European gig came up.

"I had some opportunities to go into Asia, because of the success we had as a club in the Champions League,” Popovic said.

"That's quite natural that a coach and players from Western Sydney would have chances (in Asia). That's always there and I'd still like to do that but as a coach I wanted to taste Europe.

"It's not easy as a coach from Australia to get a good European club. It's hard to be picky, regardless of your playing career, regardless of my time coaching in England as assistant of Crystal Palace.”

Graham Arnold (left) speaks with Tony Popovic.
Graham Arnold (left) speaks with Tony Popovic. DAVID MOIR

Popovic isn't the only local candidate in the mix for the national team role, with Sydney FC Graham Arnold revealed to have a get out clause should he be offered the Socceroos job.

Fox Sports football reporter Daniel Garb revealed earlier in the week that Sydney have sent a letter to FFA warning them to back off their approach for Arnold.

Arnold refuted those claims, while the Sky Blues also told the FFA he was not available to coach the national team.

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