Socceroos excited ahead of battles with Bangladesh and Palestine

The ‘bold phase’ of football that many Socceroos are experiencing at club level has created an enthralling atmosphere in the Australian camp ahead of Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Several squad members have arrived at training camp on the high of promotion: youngster Nestory Irankunda will soon move to one of football’s biggest clubs, German giants Bayern Munich, and midfielder Josh Nisbet is just coming off the high of a season in which he won the treble with A-League champions Central Coast.

“It’s just an incredibly exciting environment,” said Socceroos star Jackson Irvine, who will play in the Bundesliga next year after the FC St. Pauli team he manages won the second division championship.

“Everyone is in such a brave phase of football at the moment, so there is obviously a lot to talk about (in the camp), a lot to reflect on together and a common atmosphere to create.”

Irvine will be accompanied in the Bundesliga by his teammate at the Socceroos and St. Pauli, Connor Metcalfe.

Other Socceroos who have progressed to the world’s top five leagues include defenders Cameron Burgess and Harry Souttar, whose clubs Ipswich Town and Leicester City will play in the English Premier League next season, and fellow centre-back Alessandro Circati, who helped Parma gain promotion to Italy’s Serie A.

Striker Kusini Yengi will also play at a higher level next season after his club Portsmouth was promoted to the second-tier English Championship.

“The talent was always there, (but) sometimes football is funny,” Irvine said.

“Sometimes it’s about timing and a little bit of luck. I always look back at Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy, the guys who have made it and played at the highest level in the last few years. And they were also 28, 29, you know, when they reached that point in their careers.

“It’s a compliment to the perseverance of our players and how difficult it can be and what you have to go through to finally get the chance to play at this level. But now we see with Alessandro and Connor… that these younger players have now taken this step can be a huge milestone for the younger players in the future.

“It will hopefully change the players’ mindset about these moves and the opportunities they take to try and push themselves to get to that level.

“Younger players coming in and playing at the highest level will only make (the Socceroos) stronger.

“The most important thing about this team is, of course, that they embrace the fundamentals of the corporate culture that makes us successful.

“People know what this is and what work needs to be done because this has to happen at an international level.”

Such a culture will ensure that the Socceroos do not let up against Bangladesh, nor against Palestine in Perth next Tuesday, despite having already qualified for the next round of AFC World Cup qualifying.

“It’s just about never standing still. You know these (international) windows are always an opportunity for us to develop and grow as a team, meet new players and keep progressing,” Irvine said.

“That’s always been my mindset when I come to these camps. It’s an opportunity for us to just take another step forward and continue to improve.”

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