Ivan Franjic says he’s still coming to terms with his rise from part-time footballer to selection in the Socceroos’ 30-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
The Brisbane Roar wingback heads into camp with the national team tomorrow (Thurs) in Gosford on a high after his selection.
It’s all a long way from part-time football and getting up at 5am to pay the bills, in his case carpentry, in Melbourne six years ago.
Franjic, now 26, got his Hyundai A-League opportunity as a six-week injury replacement player for Andy Packer as a 20-year-old. And he’s been there ever since, helping Brisbane to A-League championships and premierships.
Now the hard work has finally paid off – though Franjic admits he doubted it’d ever happen for him.
“Even when I played VPL I made little sacrifices to make sure I trained on my own or not go out with mates, just so maybe one day I’d get the opportunity,” he told www.socceroos.com.au on Wednesday.
“Obviously Brisbane came and I promised myself if I got a full-time contract I’d make sure my career goes up, up, up.
“And if it didn’t I’d be back in VPL and doing the carpentry side getting up at 5am each morning.
“The older you get the more you get to doubt yourself as opportunities go by, so I’m very grateful I got this opportunity.
“And to be honest, my family’s more excited than me right now seeing what a long way I’ve come in my career."
There have been no guarantees about selection but the tigerish Victorian suits perfectly the Postecoglou blueprint. The Socceroo boss loves attacking players who are young enough to play in the 2018 World and have a hunger to succeed.
What's more, since winning the Hyundai A-League grand final on May 4 against Wanderers, Franjic and fellow Roar and Socceroo teammate Matt McKay have had a little help from a German star as they prepare for pre-World Cup camps.
“Celebrations were short-lived then me, Matty [McKay] and a couple of boys like Thomas Broich came in, which was very nice of him to help us train," said Franjic.
“He’s a great guy and to have a quality player like that to have around really helped. Thomas wants us to do well if we get a chance at the World Cup.
“He did what he could to make sure we were ready for this training camp.”
After the Socceroo friendly with South Africa in Sydney on May 26 the squad is trimmed to 27. The final 23 will be named on June 2 in Brazil.
“You have to perform well in the training camp. Obviously there are 23 spots up for grabs and you have to make sure you do well. But I’m so close to making that dream a reality.”
Franjic added that the injury he received in recent weeks has proved a blessing in disguise as he braces for a brutal boot camp on the Central Coast.
“It’s given me a break and I feel fresh. This is probably the best condition my body’s been in, in a long time. So I’ll be ready to go.
“If I’m selected in the final squad, I’ll be so excited I won’t be able to speak.”
The final chance to see the Socceroos on home soil before they head to Brazil 2014 will be when they take on South Africa in a farewell game on May 26 in Sydney. Tickets for the match, presented by NAB, are on sale now. Click here to secure yours today.
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou