Milos Degenek is elated to be back in the green and gold and has his sights on nailing down the Caltex Socceroos right-back position.
The German-based defender missed last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan with a knee injury but has recovered in quick time to be back for Tuesday night’s clash with Thailand in Bangkok.
Right-back has been a troublesome position for coach Ange Postecoglou in recent times, with Degenek one of eight players used in that position since the AFC Asian Cup.
Perth Glory’s Josh Risdon is the other player in the squad in contention to start at right-back against Thailand but Degenek – who plays centrally for club side 1860 Munich – hopes to make it his.
“I feel pretty good there because I can get up and down. I’m quite fit, I’m a runner,” Degenek told FFA TV.
“It’s a good position because you’re always up or down, you’re always creating opportunities and you’re always involved in the game.
“It’s a very interesting position and I enjoy playing it.”
Preparations for Tuesday’s clash have ramped up significantly over the week long camp in Bangkok so far, with all 23 players training strongly and available for match at the Rajamangala National Stadium.
The Caltex Socceroos are unbeaten after four games with eight points to sit second in their group and a win would solidify their position in Group B heading into 2017.
First-placed Saudi Arabia (10 points) travel to Japan (seven points) in third spot making it a potentially defining night on the Road to Russia.
The importance of the match is not lost on Degenek, who says the side is well-prepared for the occasion.
“I think we would have been ready even if we had to play in a short turnaround after three days. We would have been ready,” he said.
“Now we’ve had a few more days together and a few more sessions I think the team is ready and together and wanting the three points obviously.”
Like Degenek, midfielder Luke Brattan heads into camp in good form at club level and looking to make the most of his opportunity back in the Caltex Socceroos squad.
The Melbourne City star is enjoying his football again after a difficult 12 months where he struggled with fitness and to play much football during a move to the UK with Manchester City.
The 26-year-old was loaned to Bolton Wanderers but failed to break into the first team, before heading to Melbourne City for this Hyundai A-League campaign.
“You never know if you don’t try,” Brattan told FFA TV of the experience.
“I went over there with a clear mindset. Things didn’t work out football-wise but I think I learned a lot about myself on and off the field.
“I feel it’s made me a better player. I’m just glad to be playing regular football again.”