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Therdsak in plans for AFF Suzuki Cup, says Thailand coach Robson


07-Sep-2010
Thailand coach Bryan Robson has confirmed that veteran midfielder Therdsak Chaiman will be available for the AFF Suzuki Cup in December scotching stories that the former captain had retired from international football.

The 36-year-old Therdsak played no part in Thailand's 1-0 victory over Asian Cup-bound India in Bangkok on Saturday but Robson said that he had given him the green light to withdraw from the squad and concentrate on his club duties with title-chasing Chonburi in the Thai Premier League.

"We had a chat – I know everything that Therdsak can do so for me it was not necessary to play him in either of the games against India (the return is on Wednesday) because I want to have a look at some of the young boys who play in a similar position," said Robson.

"I know there have been rumours about Therdsak retiring but those are not true. As far as I am concerned, a 36-year-old who loves football can play to a lot older than 36 as long as he keeps himself fit and Therdsak does that."

Therdsak captained Thailand the last time they were crowned Asean champions in 2002 and was also named Player of the Tournament, one of several MVP honours he has picked up during a stellar career with clubs in Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Robson knows that Therdsak could be be a talismanic presence at the AFF Suzuki Cup as Thailand bid to end an eight-year drought.

"If he keeps playing like he is, Therdsak could be important for us at the AFF Suzuki Cup," said Robson.

Robson was satisfied with his team's performance in the 1-0 win over India although Thailand's failure to convert chances into goals is a concern for the former England captain.

"Overall I was pleased with some of the passing and movement from the players especially as I put some of the young boys into the team and I thought they performed well," he said.

"As for a lack of goals, this is the problem that we had in the Asian Cup qualifiers.

"I see the players at club level and they score a lot of good goals but at international level I do not know what happens, whether it is a little bit of a lack of confidence or what. We will have to try and give them that confidence. They are good players and I am sure that they will start scoring."

The winner for Thailand was scored by Sarayoot Chaikamdee, nicknamed "Joe Five Yards" for his knack of poaching goals.

Sarayoot has been in and out of the Thailand side over the last eight years and was axed by former coach Peter Reid for the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup. Robson recalled him for the recent friendly against Singapore and Sarayoot repaid the new boss with the winning goal.

"He has been in good form for his club side (amassing nine goals for Thai Port this season) and he deserved to start against India after scoring in the Singapore match," said Reid.

The draw for the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup will be held in Hanoi on September 15.