Defender Milos Degenek says his seamless transition into international football is down to the incredible environment in the Caltex Socceroos set-up.
Making his first start in the green and gold on Saturday night, Degenek was immense in the heart of defence as the Socceroos beat Greece 1-0 at a wet ANZ Stadium.
It’s been a massive week for the 22-year-old, having an assist on his debut against England last week and now lining up alongside Trent Sainsbury in his home town to stifle the Greeks.
And Degenek says the atmosphere in and around the squad has made it easy to settle in and perform right away.
“The environment is even better than I expected to be honest. It’s something I barely get at my club [1860 Munich],” Degenek said afterwards.
“Here it’s just one step above and really unbelievable. The information we get from the coaches, the way we do things, the boys are really good.
“I can’t congratulate them and talk them up as much as I want because it’s they’re really top professionals.
“I am comfortable because I enjoy playing football and playing for Australia is a dream come true and playing in Australia is very good for me,” he added.
"I feel comfortable because the things the coach makes me feel more comfortable and the players I play with makes my job easier and makes me enjoy it a lot more.”
Against the physically imposing Apostolos Vellios, Degenek was strong in the tackle but also distributed superbly on the bumpy surface.
“I’ve known [Sainsbury] since I was 15 so it was really comfortable to play alongside Trent. He helped me a fair bit out there tonight,” Degenek said.
“I’ve played in big games but this was one of the biggest I’ve played in my life. I had some nerves but that’s normal.”
Along with Bailey Wright and the injured Matthew Spiranovic, the Socceroos are building some excellent depth in the central defensive areas heading towards the start of the next phase of FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September.
“That’s normal in football to have competition everywhere. If you don’t have competition, the team can’t develop,” he said.
“Now we have competition in the team, everyone has to be performing better and playing week in, week out at their club.
“The when you come into national team, the best players will play. That’s healthy for any environment and any football team.”
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