Mitchell Duke opens up about social media abuse and Socceroos future

Mitchell Duke refuses to set end date on national team career as he prepares for Socceroos return.

Mitchell Duke is gearing up to represent Australia once again, refusing to pin down a retirement timeline amidst preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Lebanon. The match, set to take place at CommBank Stadium on Thursday, could secure Australia’s advancement to the final round of qualification with a victory.

Duke’s last national team appearance dates back to Australia’s 2-1 defeat to South Korea in the Asian Cup quarter-final. Criticism arose following that match, particularly directed at defender Lewis Miller for his ill-timed challenges leading to Korea’s late goals. Duke himself expressed disappointment over missed opportunities to secure a lead for Australia, reflecting on his performance during the match.

Despite facing backlash following Australia’s tournament exit, Duke remained resilient. He shared his experience of receiving death threats and derogatory messages on social media, emphasizing the impact of such negativity on individuals. Duke also empathized with Miller, recognizing the mental toll criticism can take on a player, especially in their early career stages.

At 33 years old, Duke acknowledges the inevitable transition in his role within the national squad. However, he remains committed to supporting younger players and contributing to the team’s dynamic. With burgeoning talents like Kusini Yengi and the resurgence of Adam Taggart, competition within the squad is intensifying, a development Duke views positively for the team’s growth.

As the Socceroos ramp up their preparations for the crucial qualifier, the focus remains on optimizing player fitness. Winger Craig Goodwin’s availability hangs in the balance due to a lingering virus, presenting a potential hurdle for coach Graham Arnold.

The training sessions leading up to the match have highlighted Duke’s dedication to his role within the national team setup, embodying a mentorship approach towards emerging talents. While the uncertainty of his future looms, Duke’s commitment to the Socceroos remains unwavering, showcasing a blend of experience and leadership crucial for the team’s success.

Denis Hardin

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