EXCLUSIVELUCAS NEILL has described his Galatasaray boss Frank Rijkaard as a ”really great man manager” but won’t buy into whether Football Federation Australia should appoint the legendary Dutchman as the next Socceroos coach.”He’s a born winner as a player and a manager,” Neill said. ”He’s coached and managed the very best and I feel quite lucky to be here and working under him. [But] if I say that that he’s going to be great for [the Socceroos], then I’m having a go at Galatasaray. If I say that I want to keep him here [in Turkey], that’s not good for Australia. There’s a million fans that will lynch me.”FFA is on the lookout for a replacement for Pim Verbeek at the conclusion of the World Cup and has approached Rijkaard, another Dutchman, about the post. Rijkaard’s offsider, Johan Neeskens, helped Guus Hiddink prepare the Australians for the 2006 World Cup and has also been sounded out.Neill, who joined Socceroos teammate Harry Kewell at Galatasaray, has enjoyed working under the former AC Milan midfielder in Turkey.”He is amazing,” Neill said. ”He is so well decorated in medals and appearances, when you look at his CV you realise how lucky you are.”You look at his CV and think, ‘Is he intimidating, is he really strict?’ He’s an unbelievable manager and you’re [afraid] to say a word to him and want to do everything he says – but he’s such a warm and open person and you can talk to him about everything, football and non football.”He’s so relaxed to be around that he gets that natural respect because of the reputation he’s earned as a player and as a manager already.”When he talks you just listen because you know what he’s going to say makes sense.”The comments are sure to further pique the interest of the FFA, which is determined to get the best available man to take over from Verbeek. Rijkaard is one of the game’s shrewdest tacticians, coaching the Netherlands to the semi-finals of Euro 2000 and overseeing Barcelona during their 2006 Champions League final win over Arsenal.”You can talk to him about anything,” Neill said. ”If you have any problems you can knock on his door and see him. He’s a very, very good guy and he gets success by getting respect from all the team. He is a really, really great man manager.”Galatasaray chairman Adnan Polat told the Istanbul Daily News Rijkaard was going nowhere.”Rijkaard signed a two-year contract with Galatasaray and we will be together next year,” he said.Neill said Kewell, who is recovering from a groin injury, had returned to training. ”He’s running around the pitch as we’re training,” Neill said. ”We’re really looking forward to getting him back in action so we can play in the same team at club level together.”Asked when Kewell was expected to make his long-awaited return, Neill replied: ”I don’t know, mate – you’d have to ask him. He keeps those cards close to his chest.”
Nanjing Night Net