Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer reveals he never gave up on move to elite club - even after transfer to Arsenal fell through

The 40-year-old ran down his contract at Fulham before move to Stamford Bridge

Jakarta

When Arsenal’s repeated attempts to sign Mark Schwarzer were thwarted by Fulham in the summer of 2010, it looked then, at the age of 37, as if the Australian goalkeeper’s chances of a move to one of the Premier League’s elite were destined never to be realised.

Yet three years later, and less than three months short of his 41st birthday, the goalkeeper is on tour with Chelsea in the Asia and preparing for a season which could yet end with trophies, nine years after the only major honour of his career, the League Cup with Middlesbrough. He joined the club on a one-year deal as Petr Cech's No 2 this month but says that he did so because he believes that there will be opportunities to play.

Schwarzer made his first appearance for Chelsea in the first half of the friendly against a Malaysian select XI on Sunday. He is younger than both Brad Friedel, 42, who has signed another one-year extension at Tottenham and David James, also 42, now playing at the Icelandic club IBV, and Schwarzer says that he has been assured by Jose Mourinho that there will be a role to play this season.

Asked whether he thought that his chance of playing at an elite Premier League club had passed him by, Schwarzer said: "You know what, when I moved to Fulham I thought that was it and then the Arsenal thing popped up. So after that experience I said 'Never say never'. It's proven to be true. I still say 'Never say never'. It's not over until it's over. We'll see.

"I feel incredibly well. They say the older you get you are trying to hide your age. But I am not trying to hide my age. I am 40 years old but I feel incredibly well and I am holding my own, no problems whatsoever. I feel incredibly fit and I love playing football. As long as I am playing well enough at this level I will continue to play."

Schwarzer was out of contract this summer at Fulham and his decision to leave was made easier by the arrival at the club of the Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, ten years his junior, who signed from Roma. For the first time in his career, Schwarzer will not be a first-choice at his club but it is a change for which he says he is prepared.

He said: "That's going to be an adjustment of course but I think the amount of games Chelsea play there is going to be opportunities to play games and that's also important for me. Without a doubt, you are here to win. There are four competitions and you want to win all four if you can.

"He [Cech] is a great goalkeeper and a good guy. He has been extremely accommodating for me since I have arrived. It's been great to work alongside him. I think there is a distinct difference in our style. Hopefully I can learn from him and maybe he might learn from me too. I think we can complement each other very well."

Schwarzer is the most-capped Australian national team footballer in history, with 108, and has ambitions to play at the World Cup finals next summer, it would be his third appearance at the finals, for which the country have already qualified. He was twice a losing finalist in the Uefa Cup and Europa League competition with Middlesbrough and Fulham. How is he still going strong?

"My wife would probably tell you it's just the selfishness coming into play!" he said. "You definitely need a selfishness. It's all the same stuff. You need the dedication, you need the persistence, the sacrifices. There's no rocket science to it. I just look after myself better than I ever have in the last three or four years in particular. You're talking about diet, you're talking about training, you're talking about all sorts of areas of my life. I look after myself better than I ever have and that has helped with the longevity.

 "The aim is to continue to get better. I don't want to stop getting better. If you stop getting better then it is a downward slippery slope. I would like to think that at the tender young age of 40 that must prove it is right and that I have continued to improve. Hopefully I can continue to get better again."

Being out of England during Australia's struggle in the Ashes over the last week has also been a relief for Schwarzer who said that Frank Lampard is the only other cricket fan in the Chelsea squad. "I try not to talk to him about it too much because it's not looking good for us," Schwarzer said.

"We have been going through a transitional process for quite some time. You look at the previous team and there are so many players retiring at a similar time, it's difficult for any team in the world. As they say in cricket - and it is more obvious in cricket - it goes in cycles."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week