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Wilkinson takes positives from World Cup showing

26 June 2014 16:15

Defender Alex Wilkinson believes that he has improved his game by playing against quality strikers with Australia at the FIFA World Cup.

The Jeonbuk Motors man was involved in a promising but ultimately fruitless campaign as Ange Postecoglou's side were eliminated from a group that also put paid to Spain's title defence.

But the quality of Australia's performances, particularly against the Netherlands and Chile, offered cause for optimism.

And, having come up against the likes of Robin van Persie, Alexis Sanchez and David Villa, Wilkinson feels the experience will stand the team in good stead.

"You learn that you've got to be switched on for the whole 90 minutes, and that you can't mentally switch off for one second against those teams and players," he told the Socceroos' official website.

"They can punish you so quickly and I think we found that during all three games.

"If you switch off for a tiny and lapse in concentration you get punished.

"As a defender I wasn't happy with conceding nine goals. We pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets.

"But it was a relatively new back line and the more we play together it'll get better.

"It's a huge learning curve for me and the whole team, a young team that hadn't experienced a major tournament."

Australia will now turn their attentions to the Asian Cup, which they host in 2015 after losing the 2011 final to Japan.

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