Parenthood boost for Kemp

Melbourne's Matthew Kemp attributes the steadying influence of fatherhood as one of the major reasons behind a career-best run of form which has now yielded Socceroos selection.

Melbourne's Matthew Kemp attributes the steadying influence of fatherhood as one of the major reasons behind a career-best run of form which has now yielded Socceroos selection.

Kemp was named as part of Pim Verbeek's 23-man squad for the Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait on January 6, the first time he has figured in a senior national squad. It-s a suitable reward for the 29-year-old, who has been one of Victory's best players in a season which sees the club top of the table at Christmas.

Kemp missed two games earlier in the season because of the birth of his first child, but he believes that event has changed his approach to football and may be responsible for his more consistent form this season.

"I think it was since my son was born. I don-t know how that's helped but maybe the sleepless nights. I probably just think about football a bit less, I've got something else to occupy me," he said.

"I think it was around about that time that my form has come good. Maybe there's something in that. Maybe I was worried about football too much, but now I don't have a split second to think about it."

"I switch on once I get to the club. That's working pretty well for me,"

Verbeek has indicated that Kemp, who is known for his versatility as a wide midfielder or defender who can play on either side of the park, has been selected in a left back role. He will battle with Adelaide's Scott Jamieson for a starting spot and feels he is in for a real chance to make his debut.

"I don-t want to go there to sit on the bench or worse. I've got to go there thinking I can get a run and hopefully do a good job. I'm confident that I can do well," he said.

But ahead of that match, Kemp and his club-mates face a trip to Townsville to take on North Queensland. Kemp expects the conditions and the opposition to pose plenty of challenges.

"We've got a tough game. I've got to be thinking about that before all this Socceroos stuff. They're going to be tough up on their home ground. The weather's similar to this. We're going to have to play well to get a good result."

North Queensland marquee Robbie Fowler will be one of the main targets Melbourne will be looking to stop in the match, but Kemp is wary of being too focused on just one player.

"We are obviously wary of him. We've obviously not focussed on him at training and worried about him, but once you-re out there, you do have to keep tight rein on him or he can hurt you as we-ve seen early in the year," he said.