While Jackson Irvine is enjoying getting back on the international stage, he doesn’t underestimate the importance of the next games for Australia when FIFA World Cup qualification resumes.
Speaking to Socceroos.com.au, from the Australian hub in the UAE, the Melbourne-born midfielder says there is a lot of excitement in the group as the Socceroos prepare for Kuwait on Friday 4th June.
“The boys are really excited to be back,” said Irvine.
“After we haven’t seen each other for almost a couple of years, there is incredible excitement within the group both on and off the field.”
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Australia will play four World Cup qualifiers in just twelve days; a challenge Irvine says the Socceroos don’t take it lightly.
However, despite the crowded games ahead, Irvine has enjoyed regular playing time with Hibernian in Scotland this season, which should do the 28-year-old good.
“It’s an important time for us,” he said.
“The preparation for these important games is already in full swing. I’ve started 21 games in the last four months, so I feel fit, refreshed and couldn’t come to camp in any better shape. “
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Coach Graham Arnold picked several new faces in the current squad, with the exciting A-League form of Connor Metcalfe, Denis Genreau and Ruon Tongyik also drawing the attention of Irvine.
“It’s great to see some fresh faces on the squad,” he added.
“These guys have massively improved their form at home and earned their place in the group. There’s a lot at stake in these games, so the newbies will come in and do a huge job for us, just like we did at the start of the campaign. “
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Australia currently tops Group B Asian qualifiers and has secured four straight wins before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill.
After Kuwait, the Socceroos will face Chinese Taipei, Nepal and Jordan in their first games since November 2019.
With 31 selected players on the squad and after such a long time between internationals, Irvine believes anyone can fight for a spot.
“There are no guaranteed places in the squad,” said Irvine.
“I think all players will get a few minutes so it’s important that everyone is ready to perform when asked to.”
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