Soccer / World Cup 2014 / Benayoun relieved Israel can rely on more talent
Benayoun, says burden on his shoulders is reduced as several younger compatriots who play for clubs in leading European leagues are ready to step up.
As the Israeli national soccer team prepares to take on Azerbaijan in Baku on Friday, captain Yossi Benayoun said this week he is ready to lead a more balanced side in the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.
Benayoun, 32, said the burden on his shoulders was now reduced as several younger compatriots who play for clubs in leading European leagues were ready to share the load.
"I feel as I always have over the years, I have maintained that the national team cannot be built around one man. ... I think that in this campaign there are more talented players, particularly among the forwards," he said Benayoun.
Of the 21-man squad Eli Guttman has named for the two matches, 13 play abroad with strikers Itai Shechter of Swansea City, Real Mallorca's Tomer Hemed and attacking midfielder Maor Melikson of Wisla Krakow among those called to the fore.
Benayoun, who has returned to West Ham after previously having spent two seasons there, said he had trained harder to be ready. "Because I have not played for Chelsea, I trained more seriously. I want to be in top form for the national team as we all realize that the object is to win (in Azerbaijan ) regardless of who plays," he said.