Thanks but no thanks: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will not be selecting Lucas Neill in his World Cup squad.

Thanks but no thanks: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will not be selecting Lucas Neill in his World Cup squad. Photo: Reuters

After months of debate about Lucas Neill's future, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has officially ruled the former skipper out of next month’s World Cup.

Postecoglou made the decision on the weekend that the 36-year-old was not in contention to make his extended 30-man squad, which will be named next week for a training camp in Gosford.

Neill was desperately trying to convince Postecoglou he was still worth his place in Brazil by picking up various short-term deals, playing with J-League side Omiya Ardija and English Championship clubs Watford and Doncaster Rovers all in the past year.

In happier times: Lucas Neill celebrates victory over Jordan in 2013 that took Australia to the brink of qualification for the 2015 World Cup.

In happier times: Lucas Neill celebrates victory over Jordan in 2013 that took Australia to the brink of qualification for the 2015 World Cup. Photo: Justin McManus

Despite his best efforts, Neill couldn’t convince the coach to change his mind after being left out of the squad for the match against Ecuador in March.

“It was difficult because he’s worked damn hard to try and make himself ready and available,” Postecoglou said on Tuesday. "He’s shown an enormous determination to go to this World Cup.

“From my perspective, I had to make a decision and over the past six months, in terms of form and fitness, there just wasn’t enough evidence there for me that he’d be able to hold up in a World Cup.

“For somebody as decorated as him, it’s a tough decision to deny him going to a third World Cup. It’s a decision that weighed heavily on me. I wanted to make sure I was absolutely clear on the premise of my decision.”

The coach hinted that Neill's feverish swapping of clubs had perhaps not aided his cause.

“He was probably a bit unlucky, in terms of the moves he made,” Postecoglou said. "Certainly, from January onwards, if he’d had four months of football under his belt, I guess a different decision would have been made.

"But it’s not easy. He’s shown outstanding determination and it’s a credit to him. You can see why he’s played for his country many times and he’s a leader. He’s certainly gone down fighting, if you want to put it in that terminology.”

Postecoglou called Neill directly and admitted the veteran did not take the news overly well.

“Before the 30-man squad was announced I thought it was important to speak to him directly and inform him that he wouldn’t make the 30,” he said.

“From my perspective, it’s about paying him the respect of being captain for six years and captain of the World Cup campaign so far. It was right I told him personally.

"From his perspective, he was very disappointed, but acknowledged it was a decision I had to make.”

The growing number of injuries further dented Neill’s cause to be included in another World Cup squad.

“It becomes a factor, particularly on the back of not playing a lot of football,” Postecoglou said.

"We’re going to a World Cup and there’s a level of intensity required in the camp. An isolated injury here or there you can judge differently, but the combination of the lack of regular football and the little niggles that he got made the decision for me.”

Neill, who is stranded on 96 caps, is very unlikely to play for Australia again – though he has indicated a desire to fight his way into the Asian Cup squad, a tournament for which he has already been signed to perform ambassadorial duties.

“My discussions with him were purely about the World Cup and he had every intention of playing on next year, probably in Europe,” Postecoglou said. “The discussion wasn’t anything beyond this World Cup, both from my perspective and his perspective as well.

“I guess it’s a sad time in the bubble of a moment, [but] it’s just for one tournament, just for the World Cup.”

The process of finding a new captain won’t start until the squad is named, with Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill thought to be the front runners for the coveted position.

“We’ve still got to announce the squad and then get into camp,” Postecoglou said. “It’s a decision for the immediate future.”

Ironically, Neill’s last game for the Socceroos looks likely to be the 1-0 win over Costa Rica in December, which was also Postecoglou's first game in charge.

The news compounds the results of the past weekend, where Neill was part of the Doncaster side relegated to League One after they lost 1-0 to Leicester City.