Lucas Neill has retained the Australian captaincy, which comes as something of a surprise given his lack of first-team football and advancing years.

But new coach Ange Postecoglou has retained faith with Neill, who will lead the team out against Costa Rica on Tuesday night. All going well in this game and the other build-up matches, Neill will be favourite to lead his country to the World Cup in Brazil next year.

"I understand there is a fascination in the captaincy, but it hasn’t taken up a lot of my time," said Postecoglou.

"My whole focus is about getting the whole group up and running."

Neill said the decision on who would be captain hadn’t been playing on his mind.

"I’ve been honoured to do it 60 times. I’ll be honoured to lead the team out tomorrow night.

Going further than his manager, who said he was concentrating on the "collective", Neill said that not only was the focus not on any individual, it was now not even on the team.

"... It's about the country ... it's about everybody..." he said, looking to galvanise the support of the nation in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Neill said the team was determined to make a statement in the first outing under their new mentor.

''We have to start the Ange Postecoglou era in a very positive manner,'' said Neill.

The skipper said Postecoglou had emphasised the demand for pride in the Australian shirt and the fact that all players were always on trial for their positions.

Tim Cahill had been widely expected to take over the armband.

While Cahill may no longer be in the Premier League with Everton he is starring for New York Red Bulls in the MLS, and still scoring the goals that have been his trademark wherever he has played.

The other logical candidate would have been Mark Bresciano. But the problems over his transfer to Qatari club Al Gharafa mean that he will be unavailable for international football for months – perhaps even from the World Cup – so that effectively ruled him out of contention.

Postecoglou could have opted to skip a generation and plumped for players like Mile Jedinak or Mark Milligan, two men who so often have been battling each other for the same spot in the starting eleven.

Both are captains of their respective clubs, Milligan at Melbourne Victory, Jedinak at Premiership strugglers Crystal Palace, whom he led to promotion through the playoffs last season.