Despite an injury that hampered his start to life at FC St. Pauli, Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine has quickly developed into an important part of the 2. Bundesliga side's promotion push.
The 28-year-old joined the German outfit in July following the expiration of his short-term deal with Scottish side Hibernian.
While a slight injury in his first week at the club forced him to miss the opening four games of the season, Irvine has now made five appearances for the Hamburg-based club.
Although injury delayed his starting debut, Irvine told socceroos.com.au that he now feels settled and is ready to make a big impact for his new club.
“I had a tricky start because I picked up a little injury when I first signed,” he explained.
“It was a new kind of hurdle for me to overcome but I've managed to get myself fit.
I’m starting games, playing regularly and feeling as good as I felt in my career so I'm buzzing for the next couple of games.”
Irvine's road to becoming a Socceroos regular is a similar story of patience and persistence.
After making a solitary debut appearance in 2013, it took him four years to earn his first start for Australia but since then, he has become a mainstay in the Socceroos midfield.
During that time, he has enjoyed gracing the pitch with a long list of fellow midfielders, some of whom he now gets to exert his experience on.
“It feels like yesterday that I was a young boy coming in and playing amongst the experience of Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan, Matt McKay and these guys,” Irvine said.
“Now I’m seeing guys like Denis Genreau, Ajdin Hrustic and these younger players that are coming in and doing unbelievably well at club level.
To see how they have settled in so smoothly has strengthened us and that's what it's all about.
“It gives the manager a headache and brings more quality to the group.”
Irvine will be hoping to continue his form and his connection with his new midfield partners when Australia resumes their qualifying campaign next month.
November 11 is the day which the Socceroos will next be in action, with Football Australia currently in advanced discussions with the NSW Government to seal a long-awaited homecoming for the side.
It has been over two years since Australia's men's national team last played on home soil, and Irvine is ecstatic at the thought of seeing the Green and Gold support again.
“Fans always make a difference, it's why we play the game,” Irvine explained.
“You play the game for the supporters and for your families, that's why we love the game.
“Fingers crossed that we will be playing games in front of fans in Australia sooner rather than later.”