‘I'm very honoured’: Ruon Tongyik credits dream Socceroos call-up to club form
Ruon Tongyik has credited his outstanding A-League season and subsequent Socceroos call-up to his teammates and staff at the Central Coast Mariners.
The 24-year-old's inclusion in Graham Arnold’s 31-man squad bound for June's four FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Kuwait is just reward for an outstanding season with the Mariners.
Having struggled to establish himself at his four other A-League clubs, the central defender has been a stalwart in his 23 starts so far this season.
He has been at the core of an unlikely turnaround for Central Coast, who currently sit third in the league after years of languishing at the foot of the table.
"The team has helped me to get there as well," Tongyik explained.
"The coaching staff and the whole club have helped. It’s not just me. It’s good to be called up but a lot of that credit goes to my teammates.
"We have had a great partnership throughout the defence and even with Biras (Mark Birighitti) in goal as well. We have proven to a lot of people that playing consistently together goes a long way.’’
Tongyik could be come the first Mariner to play for the national team at senior level since Mitchell Duke. Socceroos boss Arnold even revealed that the Mariners thought the surprise call-up was a mistake.
"When I first sent the letter they (Central Coast Mariners) thought it was for the Olyroos," Arnold explained.
"So they thought I made a mistake with his age because he's three days too old for the Olyroos.
"I said no no, this is for the Socceroos. And (Mariners Coach) Alen Stajcic was extremely proud because he said, 'Arnie, he fully deserves it. He's had a great season.'"
Tongyik, who previously represented the Australia U-23's back in 2018, has always dreamt of representing the nation at senior level.
And he can not wait to get into camp with some of the players that he has idolised from afar.
"I’m really excited to get out of the country and to experience training and playing with some of the boys that I’ve watched as I was growing up," he said.
The Socceroos face Kuwait, Jordan, Nepal, and Chinese Taipei in Group B during their time in camp, and Tongyik will be in line to make his debut.
Australia currently top Group B of Asian qualifying, having secured four wins from four prior to the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the footballing world.
Having moved to Australia when he was just six, Tongyik can not wait to be given the chance to represent the country he now calls home.
"It’s very exciting, I’m very honoured and very privileged to be called up."