FULHAM'S trailblazing Australian assistant technical and first team fitness coach Scott Miller relished his recent experience with the Socceroos and is keen to continue to work with the national team.
Miller was part of Ange Postecolgou’s first Socceroos coaching set-up for the friendly against Costa Rica, serving as an assistant coach alongside Aurelio Vidmar.
The 32-year old was charge of the squad’s fitness and conditioning for the win over Los Ticos, replacing Robbie Hooker on the staff.
Miller is hoping to continue his involvement with the Socceroos and believes Postecoglou will finalise his coaching staff for the World Cup by the March international.
“I spent 10 days with the squad, I had great feedback from the players etc, however I'm aware how football works, it's about relationships,” he said.
“Ange may well have others that he knows more so, possibly with less experience, however that's the way it works. If I'm not involved this time around, I know I'll be involved in the future.”
Miller’s position with the national team came about through referrals and his long stint at Fulham.
“The role with the Socceroos came about via a number of ways I think, from my understanding, my name was recommended to Ange via a number of people,” he said.
“One being George Karagounis, a current Fulham player and captain of Greece. I have worked with George for two seasons now and he must value my work and thought I would be a good addition to Ange and the national team.
"Ange simply called me, asked if I was interested, and then it was up to me to obtain permission from my club.”
Miller says his brief time with the Socceroos was fantastic and believes the players are in the right frame of mind heading towards the World Cup.
“Not only where the players outstanding in their application, however the whole staff that support the team, I found them to be very welcoming and supportive,” he said.
“World Cup football will be a challenge for any nation that has qualiﬁed, including Spain, Holland and Chile. Expectation versus challenge is what it's all about.
"The Australian sporting culture is one in which its opponents are respected, however we have sporting conﬁdence that allows us to be successful.
"I have spoken to a number of senior Socceroos since the camp and none of them are worried about the challenge the World Cup provides, more so energised, focused and excited.
"The [Costa Rica] match itself was an incredible experience, one I’ll never forget.
"I am proud to be involved, proud to have contributed to Australian football, even if it was for one game at this stage it’s a memory no one can take away from you.
"And happy for Ange that his reign as Socceroos manager got off to a great start by beating a World Cup team in Costa Rica.”
Miller, who first started coaching with Fulham in 2007, is loving his time in the pressure-cooker of Premier League football.
The Melbournian has assisted Martin Jol, Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes at the Cottagers but is targeting a head coaching role at some point in the future.
“For me my ﬁrst dream was to work in the English Premier League,” he said. “That dream has become a reality in some way, with this being my eighth season with Fulham.
"I guess it gets to a point in your career that your name starts to be recognised and people start to contact you regarding positions. It's a compliment, and reassures that you are doing the right things.
“My long term goal is quiet simple, to be a head coach. My experiences to date have put me on track. I'm enjoying working under and with some great managers and coaches that are continuing to teach me new things daily.
"That's the key, continue to develop and ensure I'm ready for the opportunity when it arises.
“What is to be seen is whether that opportunity will arise here in Europe or back home in Australia, although it would be a sense of achievement for me if I can return to Australia after 10 years or so in European football and take up a position as a head coach within the A-League and implement and develop my football principles.
"Simply put however, football is a harsh world. The minute you start planning to far ahead that’s when you can lose focus on what’s important.”
It has been a difficult season for Fulham with the Premier League side currently in 16th position, two points from the relegation zone. Jol was sacked last month and has been replaced by Rene Meulensteen. Miller believes the Cottagers can avoid going down.
“I wouldn't say its been a tough season, its been a challenging year at Fulham Football Club and I mean that in a sense that your continuing learning,” he said.
“Whether you're winning or losing, the fact is the environment is continually changing, player management in challenging times is crucial, leadership from coaching staff and instilling the conﬁdence and belief in the team is what it's all about.
“Rene has been given the opportunity to take over as Head Coach and the players have been outstanding in supporting him, the team is now playing well, belief is high, energy and determination to climb the table is crucial.
"His approach to weekly training is fantastic, with a real ﬁxture-focused attitude, and his experience with working with world class players at Manchester United is fantastic for me to pick his brains.
“Rene has had a fantastic impact with the squad, and with the quality of players in the squad I'm confident we can start to climb the table, it was evident in the win against West Ham that this is possible.”