SOCCEROOS captain Lucas Neill has hit out at the younger players in the squad by questioning their hunger and desire.
Critics slammed the Socceroos after their back-to-back 6-0 defeats against Brazil and France respectively, which resulted in the sacking of coach Holger Osieck.
One of those critics was former Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich who claimed that Neill, 35, is ‘part of the problem’ and that ‘anyone who plays next to him is going to struggle’.
But Neill has asserted that retirement is not on his mind ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.
“Retirement is not a word that has been on my agenda,” said Neill. "Mark Bosnich is entitled to his opinion but I would expect better from people who have played the game and certainly from those who call themselves my friend.
"People who know football know games are won and lost by a team and it's not about one person. I am committed to remaining captain for as long as the people in charge give me that status.
"I add value to the team and I bring a lot of good attributes but I am the victim - the same as everybody in this team of a side which has lost two games in a row 6-0.
"But in the three qualifiers in June (against Japan, Jordan and Iraq), which were the most important we have played in the last four years, I think my form was very good and led to us reaching the World Cup.
"When the question was asked of me I was there - right now my performances and that of the team are not good and I happily say that because I am my own harshest critic.
"I am certainly not getting quicker, I am getting older and I need to be cuter in the way I play."
Neill claims the biggest problem for the Socceroos at the moment is the passion shown by the younger players in regards to putting on the Green and Gold.
"When I was young I had to fight like cat and dog to even get a chance of being selected. Nobody gives you that for free - you have to earn it.
"For me, the biggest problem in Australia right now is not the older guys who have been doing it for a long time.
"I still have as much passion now as I had when I was 17. But my question to the younger guys who dream of playing for Australia is: 'do you really dream of playing for Australia?'
"If you do, then show me the hunger and desire. That's where we are lacking. It's all in our attitude towards the national team."
The Omiya Ardija defender was not completely surprised by the sacking of Osieck and has supported the idea of an Australian manager to take over.
"It's understandable why it happened after two bad results,” said Neill. "We are in the business of results but I feel for him also because his objective was to get us to the World Cup and he achieved that.
"The people who make the decisions have a responsibility to the future of the game in Australia and felt it was in the best interests of the Socceroos make a change.
"Nobody knows how that is going to pan out and who will take over.
"As players we must do the best we can in the interim and then grasp the new manger's concepts when he is appointed and fight for places in the squad for Brazil.
"I would love to see more Australian managers have ambition to be the best in the world.
"Australian players over the last 20 years have gone overseas and challenged themselves now we need coaches to share that ambition and crack the big time in Europe.
"Arnie (Graham Arnold) is a fantastic coach and has been to two Worlds Cups and so is Ange (Postecoglou).
“But there are a lot of good coaches in the world."