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Why Craig Johnston never played for Australia

Craig Johnston was one of Australia’s greatest ever football players, representing Liverpool for several years winning everything there was to win, yet he famously never played for the Socceroos. In fact he once compared playing for Socceroos to surfing for England. He wasn’t the only player lost to the Socceroos and author of Surfing for England Jason Goldsmith joined Julian King on Nights to share these stories.

Moving from Lake Macquarie to Middlesbrough as a teenager, Johnston set out to be a footballer and made over 335 first division appearances, 271 of those were for Liverpool where he won five league titles. Despite this, it was fear of losing his spot in the team that meant he never featured for the Australian national team.

“There was no FIFA windows for players to be allowed to go back and play for their country at that time”.

“[If he played for the Socceroos] He’d be giving up a first team spot and that’s not really a good career move to do something like that,” Goldsmith explained

Goldsmith’s book also tells the tale of missing out on Shane Smeltz, why Marconi Stallions junior Christian Vieri made 49 caps for Italy instead of Australia, and how our greatest goalscorer Tim Cahill almost wasn’t allowed to play for the Socceroos.

You can purchase Surfing for England – Our Lost Socceroos here