From the cold of Russia to the heat of Oman, Luke Wilkshire knows what his job is and he is prepared to do it, whatever the cost.
Few Qantas Socceroos have endured the domestic workload of Russia-based Luke Wilkshire this past season, where the 30-year-old continued his impressive form at Dinamo Moscow.
Only a handful of Dinamo-s outfield players contributed more to Russia-s 44-round top-tier than Wilkshire, who has additionally been an ever present in green and gold.
Despite an exhaustive campaign, Wilkshire is no less eager to contribute against Oman on Friday, where the conditions will be far different from the depths of the Moscow winter, where temperatures can plummet to -20°C.
“I-m feeling alright actually, I had a few weeks off beforehand I had a bit of a hamstring injury, so against Denmark was the first run out for a few weeks for me, which was good,” said Wilkshire.
“It-s great to be back in camp, it-s been a while for me - being suspended in the last game - so it-s great to be back in camp and amongst the boys.”
Already experienced at two FIFA World Cup-s, Wilkshire has set his sights on a third appearance at football-s showpiece event in Brazil in 2014.
One of the quiet achievers for the Qantas Socceroos in recent times, Wilkshire has quietly compiled nearly 70 senior international caps.
In a positive omen, Wilkshire-s first international goal of six to date was at the venue for Friday-s match - the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex - when Australia posted a hard earned 2-1 AFC Asian Cup qualifying triumph over Oman.
“It-s a major goal, it-s our goal, it-s everyone-s goal (to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup),” said Wilkshire.
“We all know what-s at stake, how important it is and we know it-s something we don-t want to miss out on, that-s for sure.
“It-s vital for us, it-s the first game in the group, which is going to be a tough group and we know how important it is to get off to a good start - the last thing you want to be doing is chasing.
“It-s going to be tough, we know it-s going to be tough, they-ve shown us before here that they can give us a really tough game so we-re aware of that and we need to be at our best to make sure we get some points.”
The Qantas Socceroos begin their final phase of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a clash against Oman in Muscat on Friday, 8 June. Kick off is at 5pm local time. (Kick off is at 11pm AEST).
Soon after, the Qantas Socceroos will host Japan in their first home fixture of the fourth stage of Asia-s FIFA World Cup qualification process on Tuesday, 12 June at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm.
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