Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Timely Saluteto Schwarz

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Timely Saluteto Schwarz

Article excerpt

Gareth Southgate wouldn't swap him for anybody else in the Premiership.

He's Boro's most capped international and he's been the first name on the team sheet for 10 years.

He looks after himself and, at the age of 34, he's still got several years of top flight football ahead of him.

He's Mark Schwarzer, and he's approaching 400 league and cup games as Boro keeper.

Yet it seems only yesterday that the big Aussie stepped out with his new team-mates to make his Boro debut in a Coca-Cola Cup semi-final first leg clash at Stockport County.

Signed for just pounds 1.2m from Bradford City, the Sydney-born stopper could hardly have made a bigger impact.

The stunning way in which he came off his line and held the ball, and his command of his box, was breathtaking.

In fact, he was a founder member of a new breed of goalkeepers, big and dominating, who have since gone on to sweep through football.

It's been a roller coaster 10 years, but Schwarzer has tasted a lot more good times than bad.

He said: "Spending 10 years here at Middlesbrough is quite an accomplishment.

"The low point is certainly relegation without a doubt. Even though I'd only been here for a short while, it was very hard to take.

"I was also injured for the last 10 or so games which made it even worse because I couldn't play my part.

"But there have been a lot of great times and I've thoroughly enjoyed being here.

"Winning the Carling Cup is obviously the highlight because we won the first major trophy for the club in its history.

"Reaching the UEFA Cup final is not far behind because it was a remarkable achievement to reach the final in only our second year of European competition and to go so close, because the end result wasn't a true reflection of the game.

"But it was an amazing accomplishment."

Having tasted two consecutive seasons in Europe with Boro, Schwarzer might have the opportunity to enjoy another season in the UEFA Cup if Boro can maintain their impressive run. …

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