Australia’s participation in the EAFF East Asian Cup was promoted as being an opportunity for the next generation of Socceroos to test themselves on the international stage.
Australia-s participation in the EAFF East Asian Cup was promoted as being an opportunity for the next generation of Socceroos to test themselves on the international stage.
While Australia will be disappointed to leave Korea Republic with only one point from their three games, there were some standout performances to suggest many players based in the Hyundai A-League can make the step up on a permanent basis.
One such player who was singled out for his contribution by Coach Holger Osieck after the Socceroos went down to China was Central Coast-s Mitch Duke. The enterprising forward having registered his second national goal in two games in the 4-3 loss to the two-time East Asian Cup champions.
It was not the first time Osieck had praised the efforts of Duke, having been pleased with his combination with another up and coming player, Tomi Juric in the loss to Japan.
“We should never forget the purpose of our trip - to find new players and I-m pretty confident we are in a good way to identify a couple of new guys.
“The two boys really showed a lot of promise, in particular Mitch Duke. I hope he keeps going and he is definitely a very promising player," he said of the Mariners forward.
Speaking after the Japan match Duke said it was an unbelievable feeling to register his first international goal in just his second appearance for the Socceroos.
“It-s the greatest feeling in the world to be able to perform for your country.
“Scoring a goal was amazing - it didn-t feel completely real.”
He also said he was enjoying the challenges that came with playing international football.
“The conditions over here have been tough, the humidity is palpable.
“The standard is also a tough level up from the A-League but the atmosphere has been good.”
When pressed on his chances of making the Socceroos World Cup squad, the 22-year-old was nonplussed about his chances of making the trip to Brazil, such has been his meteoric rise.
“I just want to keep doing well and improving myself. I-ll keep my head down at the Mariners this year and we-ll see what happens.”
Duke-s calm finish in netting Australia-s third in the loss to China was a clear indication he has the talent to make the transition from prospect to first team regular.
While the Socceroos left their comeback until it was too late, with Duke-s goal being the final kick of the match, it is clear time is very much on the side of the promising young striker.
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